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Consumer Confidence Hits Post-Recession High

increaseU.S. consumer confidence jumped up more than four points from June to July, signaling a brighter economic outlook among Americans.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index reached 90.9 in the group's July survey, up from 86.4 in June. As of July, the index stands at its highest level since before the Great Recession.

Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said the surge was fueled by strong job growth and a brighter short-term outlook for the labor market and personal incomes.

"Recent improvements in consumer confidence, in particular expectations, suggest the recent strengthening in growth is likely to continue into the second half of the year," Franco added.

The index component measuring consumers' feelings about their present situation increased two points to 88.3, the Conference Board reported, while the index gauging future expectations jumped more than six points to 92.7.

Looking at recent economic developments, 15.9 percent of consumers surveyed said jobs are plentiful at the moment, though nearly double that percentage maintained that work is still hard to find.

Looking ahead, however, Americans were more positive, with a greater share expecting more jobs in the months to come and a smaller number expecting labor to fall—an improvement Federal Reserve leaders might take note of as they sit down this week to decide their next move in monetary policy, says Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist for Capital Economics.

"The net difference between those two balances shrank to -14.8 in July, from -16.1. That decline strongly suggests that the amount of slack in the labour market really is diminishing quite rapidly, which many Fed officials still aren't willing to admit," Ashworth said in a note to clients.

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