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Thu Dec 15, 2011, 01:22 PM

Consumer Confidence in U.S. Improves on Job Gains, Bloomberg Index Shows [View all]

Consumer confidence in the U.S. rose last week to the highest level in two months, a sign that job gains may be lifting sentiment during the holiday shopping season.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was at minus 49.9 in the period ended Dec. 11, after a reading of minus 50.3 the prior week. Confidence among Americans with full-time jobs climbed to the highest level in almost five months.

A decline in unemployment last month complemented by increasing payrolls may help reverse the recent decline in household confidence. At the same time, the European debt crisis and gridlock among lawmakers in Washington could prevent further gains in sentiment.

“The modest increase in private-sector hiring has at least tentatively prevented another leg down in confidence,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg L.P. in New York. “Perhaps the traditional holiday season has injected a bit of hope that the worst has passed, at least for those fortunate to have a job and disposable income to enjoy the holidays.”



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