US consumer confidence rose to a three-month high in December, reinforcing the view that the economy is gradually recovering.
The figures are based on a survey of 5,000 American households by industry group the Conference Board.
It is important because consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of US economic activity.
Analyst Alan Valdes of Kabrik Trading said shoppers are slowly returning to the stores, but the future is uncertain: “Going forward, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens. Because if you look at October and September sales, they were down, so we’ll see what they look like in February and March going forward. It’s all about jobs.”
Indeed, one reason consumers are more upbeat is because they increasingly optimistic about their chances of getting or holding onto a job as new government figures showed the pace of lay offs is falling.
Another economic indicator, housing, was mixed. After rising for five months, home prices in 20 US metropolitan areas were unchanged in October.