Consumer Optimism Gains

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NEW YORK (UPI) — U.S. consumer confidence rose to a high for 2012 in November for the second consecutive month, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

The increase was the third consecutive gain, which followed the first two-month streak of the year.

For 2012, the index rose in January, July, September, October and now November.

In November, 16.5 percent of respondents to a survey that involves more than 5,000 households indicated they believed business conditions were “good,” a percentage unchanged from the previous month.

However, fewer indicated they believed business conditions were “bad” — 31.5 percent compared to 33 percent in October.

The percentage of respondents indicating jobs were “plentiful,” rose from 10.4 percent to 11.2 percent while those indicating jobs were “hard to get” was unchanged at 38.8 percent.

The overall Consumer Confidence Index, which assigns 1985 a base value of 100, rose in the month from 72.2 to 73.7, the highest level in 4 1/2 years, the Conference Board said.

“This month’s moderate improvement was the result of an uptick in expectations, while consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions continues to hold steady,” said Lynn Franco, director of the board’s Consumer Research Center.

“Over the past few months, consumers have grown increasingly more upbeat about the current and expected state of the job market, and this turnaround in sentiment is helping to boost confidence,” she said.

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