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Consumer Sentiment Rises for Fourth Straight Month

consumer sentimentConsumer sentiment hit yet another post-recession high in November, reflecting increased confidence in personal finances and the labor market heading into the holiday spending season.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index saw its fourth straight monthly gain last month, climbing to a reading of 88.8. The final index fell in between October's final value of 86.4 and a mid-month reading of 89.4 and was once again at the highest level since July 2007.

The entire gain was concentrated in the survey's Current Conditions Index, which rose more than four points to 102.7. The Expectations Index was also up, but only modestly at 79.9.

According to the group conducting the survey, last month's gain was due to improved personal finances as well as a more favorable employment outlook stemming from a stronger pace of economic growth.

On the topic of recent economic developments, survey respondents cited job gains over all other news items and anticipated further declines during the next year. They also said they expect household incomes to increase 1.1 percent annually, the biggest prediction in six years.

The survey's director, Richard Curtin, said lawmakers will need to work together following November's midterm results if they want consumer confidence to keep rising.

"In the past few years, renewed consumer optimism has been repeatedly thwarted by partisan bickering," Curtin said, pointing to showdowns over the debt ceiling, the so-called fiscal cliff, and last year's government shutdown. "The renewed confidence consumers have expressed must be nurtured, not again held hostage to partisan differences."

Based on recent data, Curtin expects consumer spending will make 2015 the best year for the economy since 2005.

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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