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Consumer confidence boosts index to highest level since 2008

NEW YORK -- The Consumer Confidence Index rose modestly to 73.7 in November from 73.1 in October, according to The Conference Board.

The research organization, which compiles the monthly index based on a consumer survey by Nielsen, said the Present Situation Index was virtually unchanged at 56.6 versus 56.7 last month, while the Expectations Index rose to 85.1 from 84.0 (1985=100).

Nov. 13 was the cutoff date for this month's preliminary results.

"The Consumer Confidence Index increased in November and is now at its highest level in more than four and a half years (since February 2008, when it hit 76.4)," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

"This month's moderate improvement was the result of an uptick in expectations, while consumers' assessment of present-day conditions continues to hold steady. 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," Franco said.

Consumers' appraisal of current conditions was relatively unchanged in November. Those saying business conditions are "good" declined to 14.4% from 16.5%, while those saying business conditions are "bad" deceased to 31.5% from 33%. Consumers' assessment of the labor market improved. Those claiming jobs are "plentiful" increased to 11.2% from 10.4%, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" held steady at 38.8%.

Consumers remained optimistic about the short-term outlook in November. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months edged up to 22.2% from 21.5%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen edged down to 14.3% from 15%.

Consumers' outlook for the labor market was about the same as in October. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead marginally improved to 20.3% from 19.7%, while those expecting fewer jobs remained virtually unchanged at 19.7%. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes decreased to 15.9% from 16.7%.


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