U.S. consumer confidence rises in November

Consumer confidence increased in November as concerns about job and income prospects eased slightly, according to The Conference Board.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index increased to 56 in November from 40.9 in October. A reading of 90 or higher indicates a healthy economy.

The index measures how shoppers feel about business conditions, the job market and the next six months. Economists watch the index closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity and is a crucial part of a strong rebound.

Those expecting business conditions to improve during the next six months rose from 10.2 percent to 13.6 percent, and those expecting business conditions to worsen dropped from 21.3 percent to 15.8 percent. Additionally, 12.9 percent expect more jobs during the next six months compared with 10.8 percent in October, and those expecting fewer jobs dropped from 27.6 percent to 24.1 percent.

"Confidence has bounced back to levels last seen during the summer," says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Consumers' assessment of current conditions finally improved after six months of steady declines. Consumers' apprehension regarding the short-term outlook for business conditions, jobs and income prospects eased considerably. Consumers appear to be entering the holiday season in better spirits, though overall readings remain historically weak."

Date : 11/29/2011