American consumer confidence hits 7-month high
U.S. consumer confidence jumped this month to the highest level since February, bolstered by a brightened hiring outlook. The Conference Board reports this morning that its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 70.3. That's up from 61.3 in August, which was revised higher. And it's the highest reading since February, when the economy added 259,000 jobs. The indicator is watched closely because consumer spending drives nearly 70% of economic activity. The reading is still below 90, a level that indicates a healthy economy. Since the beginning of the year, the index has fluctuated sharply. The survey was conducted from Sept. 1 through Sept. 13; it showed consumers were more optimistic about the current availability of jobs and their outlook over the next six months. Those stating jobs are "plentiful" rose to 8.3% from 7.2%, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" edged down to 39.9% from 40.6%. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased to 18.5% from 15.8%, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined to 18.5% from 23.7%. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes edged up to 16.3% from 16%.
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A cautious comeback