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United States

America’s consumer confidence soars to a 17-year high on strong economy and labour market

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 November, 2017, 1:38am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 November, 2017, 1:38am

US consumer confidence unexpectedly improved in November to a fresh 17-year high, a sign Americans are growing more confident about the economy and labour market, according to figures from the New York-based Conference Board on Tuesday.

Highlights of the Consumer Confidence (November) index saw it rise to 129.5, the best since November 2000, from a revised 126.2 in October. The Present Conditions measure improved to 153.9, the highest since June 2001, from 152. The Consumer expectations gauge advanced to 113.3, the strongest reading since September 2000, from 109.

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The jump in the Conference Board’s measure of expectations signal consumers are growing more upbeat about the outlook for economy and job prospects. The improvement in household confidence will help underpin household spending, the biggest part of the economy, this quarter.

The share of respondents who currently see jobs as plentiful rose to a 16-year high, while the share expecting more jobs will be available six months from now was the highest in eight months. The monthly jobs report due next week is projected to show hiring continued to advance at a healthy clip in November.

In a sign that greater confidence will make for a robust holiday-shopping season, a greater share of respondents indicated they planned to step up purchases of appliances and big-ticket items, as well as more intentions of taking holidays.

“Consumers are entering the holiday season in very high spirits and foresee the economy expanding at a healthy pace into the early months of 2018,” Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said in a statement.

Some 22.4 per cent of consumers said they expect better business conditions in the next six months, up from 22.1 per cent in October. The share of households who expect incomes to rise in six months was little changed at 20.1 per cent, but the share of those who said more jobs will be available in the coming months rose to 22.6 per cent from 18.7 per cent.