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U.S. Consumer Confidence Surges to Highest Level Since 2007

Wall Street Journal (01/27/15) Kathleen Madigan

Consumers have an exceptionally positive view of the economy, according to the Conference Board. The board’s consumer confidence index rose from a revised 93.1 in December to 102.9 in January and is at its highest level since August 2007. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a reading of 95.1.

The present situation index rose from a revised 99.9 in December to 112.6 in January. Consumer expectations for economic activity over the next six months rose from an unrevised 88.5 to 96.4. The present situation index is at its highest level since January 2008, while consumer expectations are the best since February 2011.

“A more positive assessment of current business and labor market conditions contributed to the improvement in consumers’ view of the present situation,” says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the board. “Consumers also expressed a considerably higher degree of optimism regarding the short-term outlook for the economy and labor market, as well as their earnings.” This month, some 20.5% of consumers say jobs are “plentiful,” compared with 17.2% who thought that last month. Another 25.7% say jobs are “hard to get,” down from 27.3% last month.