Consumer Confidence Rises On Better Job Outlook

The Associated Press

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U.S. consumer confidence jumped this month on a better outlook for hiring and growth, supporting other signs that show the economy could accelerate in 2014.

The Conference Board said Tuesday that its index of consumer confidence rose to 78.1 in December, up from 72 in the previous month. November's figure was revised up from 70.4. The December increase followed three months of declines.

Consumer confidence is nearly back to where it was before the partial government shutdown in October. Steady job gains and a surging stock market have made Americans more optimistic about the economy and hiring both now and in the near future.

"The upbeat consumer mood bodes well for spending in 2014," said Michael Dolega, senior economist at TD Economics.

Optimism about the job market is at a five-year high. That is a positive sign for a strong December jobs report, which will be released next week.

Consumers' confidence is closely watched because their spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.

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