WASHINGTON -- The Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index reached its highest level in eight months as Americans grew more optimistic about the job market.
The Index climbed to 60.6 this month, up from 53.3 in December. While that reading surpassed expectations, it still falls short of the 90 level that indicates a healthy consumer mindset.
The January figure was the highest since last May's 62.7, and hasn’t been above 90 since the recession began in December 2007.
However, in the Conference Board survey, the percentage of people surveyed who felt jobs were hard to get fell slightly to 43.4% from 46% in December. The share who expected to see more jobs six months from now rose to 16% from 14.2%.
While confidence has stayed weak since the recession ended in summer 2009, consumer spending has been picking up. During the 2010 holiday shopping season, sales increased at the fastest rate in six years.