Consumer confidence rose in April to a nine-month high, showing Americans are growing more upbeat about the economy as the labor market gains traction.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of sentiment increased to 84.1 from a four-month low of 80 in March. Consumers were more optimistic about current conditions than at any time since July 2007 as smaller ranks of the unemployed, near-record stock prices and higher property values help bolster household finances. The index is now just a point below the 85.1 reached last July, which was the highest in nearly seven years.
Further strides in the labor market that generate bigger wage gains would provide additional impetus for consumer spending which makes up almost 70 percent of the economy.
Consumers have cut back on debt and benefited from steady hiring and rising stock and home prices. Just 28 percent said this month that their finances were getting worse, down from 37 percent in March and the lowest level since April 2007.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.