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U.S. Consumer Confidence Bounces Back

Consumer confidence saw a boost in December on heightened optimism for the job market, the """"Conference Board"""":http://www.conference-board.org/ reported Tuesday.


The group's Consumer Confidence Index, which took a tumble following the government shutdown in October, rebounded to 78.1 from November's revised reading of 72.0. The increase made up most--but not all--of the ground lost in the previous months, bringing the index close to its pre-shutdown level (80.2 in September).

The Present Situation Index climbed to 76.2, its highest reading since 2008. The number of consumers claiming [COLUMN_BREAK]

business conditions are """"good"""" edged down nearly 1 percentage point to 19.6 percent; however, the number of consumers saying conditions are """"bad"""" dropped 2 points to 22.6 percent.

On the topic of labor, 12.2 percent of consumers said jobs are """"plentiful"""" (compared to 12.0 percent in November), and 32.5 percent said jobs are """"hard to get"""" (from 34.1 percent).

The Expectations Index also improved, rising more than eight points to 79.4.

""""Looking ahead, consumers expressed a greater degree of confidence in future economic and job prospects, but were moderately more pessimistic about their earning prospects,"""" said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. """"Despite the many challenges throughout 2013, consumers are in better spirits today than """"when the year began"""":http://www.themreport.com/articles/conference-board-consumer-confidence-crashes-in-january-2013-01-29.""""

The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased half a percentage point to 17.2 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased to 14.0 percent. On the jobs side, 17.1 percent anticipate more jobs in the months ahead--a jump from 13.1 percent in November--while 19.0 percent expect fewer jobs.

About Author: Tory Barringer

Tory Barringer began his journalism career in early 2011, working as a writer for the University of Texas at Arlington's student newspaper before joining the DS News team in 2012. In addition to contributing to DSNews.com, he is also the online editor for DS News' sister publication, MReport, which focuses on mortgage banking news.

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