Business, Economics and Jobs

Consumer confidence index hits four-year high


American consumer confidence jumped in November, which could hopefully forecast a positive holiday shopping season.



The American consumer confidence index rose to 73.7 in November from 73.1 in October, said the Conference Board on Tuesday.

Both numbers were some of the highest since February 2008, according to the Associated Press. However, the index is still below 90, the level that represents a healthy economy. The AP noted that the index last reached that level in December 2007, the first month of the Great Recession.

CNN Money reported that optimism about hiring in the fall fueled much of the recent improvement.

"Over the past few months, consumers have grown increasingly more upbeat about the current and expected state of the job market, and this turnaround in sentiment is helping to boost confidence," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, in a statement, according to CNN Money.

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According to a Reuters poll, economists had expected a reading of 73.0 percent. October was originally estimated at 72.2 percent.

A survey of 75 economists by Bloomberg had also projected 73.0 percent.

The board's survey showed that 11.2 percent of respondents think jobs are now "plentiful," while 38.8 percent think jobs are "hard to get." Around 20.3 percent of consumers think there will be more jobs in six months, while 19.7 percent think there will be fewer jobs, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The report also showed that the number of Americans planning to buy a house rose to a record high, according to Bloomberg. "Sustained gains in consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, may help overcome concern over the fiscal cliff of tax increases and government spending cuts slated for early 2013," said Bloomberg.

CNN Money noted that other measures of consumer confidence, conducted by the University of Michigan and Rasmussen Reports, already show fears of the fiscal cliff driving down confidence.

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