U.S. consumer confidence rises in December 2013

Consumer confidence increased in December 2013 as consumers expressed more confidence in future economic and job prospects, according to The Conference Board.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose to 78.1 in December 2013 from 72 in November 2013. 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 critical part of a strong rebound.

Those expecting business conditions to improve during the next six months rose to 17.2 percent from 16.7 percent, and those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased to 14 percent from 16.1 percent.

Additionally, 17.1 percent expect more jobs during the next six months compared with 13.1 percent in November 2013. Those expecting fewer jobs decreased from 21.4 percent to 19 percent.

"Consumer confidence rebounded in December and is now close to pre-government shutdown levels," says Lynn Franco, The Conference Board's director of economic indicators. "Sentiment regarding current conditions increased to a 5 1/2-year high, with consumers attributing the improvement to more favorable economic and labor market conditions. Looking ahead, consumers expressed a greater degree of confidence in future economic and job prospects but were moderately more pessimistic about their earning prospects. Despite the many challenges throughout 2013, consumers are in better spirits today than when the year began."

Date : 1/2/2014