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Brighter Outlook for Economy, Job Market Push Consumer Confidence to Seven-Year High

consumer confidenceConsumer confidence touched its highest point in more than seven years in January as Americans expressed a much rosier outlook for the economy and the job market.

The Conference Board said Tuesday that its monthly Consumer Confidence Index rose to 102.9 this month from an upwardly revised 93.1 in December.

According to the group, January's reading was the highest since August 2007, when the index was at 105.6.

"A more positive assessment of current business and labor market conditions contributed to the improvement in consumers' view of the present situation," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. "Consumers also expressed a considerably higher degree of optimism regarding the short-term outlook for the economy and labor market, as well as their earnings."

The survey's index measuring sentiment about present-day conditions rose more than 10 points from December, hitting 112.6, the Conference Board said. The number of respondents saying business conditions are currently good rose nearly four points to 28.1 percent, while the share of those saying jobs are plentiful climbed nearly three points to 20.5 percent.

The survey's Expectations Index also improved, increasing to 96.4 from 88.5 in December. Looking ahead, 18.4 percent of consumers expect business conditions to improve, up from 17.8 percent previously.

Meanwhile, 16.7 percent expect more jobs in the months ahead (up from 14.6 percent), while an even 20 percent anticipate growth in their incomes (up from 16.2 percent).

The Conference Board's index isn't the only measure of consumer attitudes to see improvement this month. The University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters consumer sentiment index rose to an 11-year high in a first-look January reading, and economists expect it will stay where it is for the final report, which is due Friday.

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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