U.S. Consumer Confidence Jumps

The Conference Board's monthly index surged to 64.5 from 55.2 in November, back to the levels of early 2011 after the collective mood soured deeply in the middle of the year.

In December, consumer confidence jumped mapping the fourth-quarter surge in the economy. Optimism about the coming half-year is also up, a key gauge showed on Dec. 27.

The Conference Board's monthly index surged to 64.5 from 55.2 in November, back to the levels of early 2011 after the collective mood soured deeply in the middle of the year.

"Consumers' assessment of current business and labor market condition improved again," said Conference Board official Lynn Franco. "Looking ahead, consumers are more optimistic that business conditions, employment prospects, and their financial situations will continue to get better."

"While consumers are ending the year in a somewhat more upbeat mood, it is too soon to tell if this is a rebound from earlier declines or a sustainable shift in attitudes."

While there was an upturn in the number of those polled expecting improvements in the next six months, two-thirds of respondents believe that the current conditions will stay the same.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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