Consumers began the year with much more confidence in the economy than expected, seeing a tepid recovery gaining steam and expecting more jobs will be created, a key index showed on Jan. 25.
The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index, which had slipped in December, rose in January to 60.6, its highest level since May.
The confidence reading was much better than the average forecast of a slight rise to 53.5 from December's 53.3 level.
"Consumers rated business and labor market conditions more favorably and expressed greater confidence that the economy will continue to expand and generate more jobs in the months ahead," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's consumer research center.
Franco noted the index was now near levels not seen since the May 2010 reading of 62.7.
"Although pessimists still outnumber optimists, the gap has narrowed."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011