Retail cheer: Consumers blaze with confidence into holidays

Consumer confidence soars to highest level since 2004

Retail cheer: Consumers blaze with confidence into holidays

Consumer confidence in the States shot higher at the start of October as more Americans judged that "this is about as good as it gets", the results of a widely-followed survey revealed.

The report said the consumer sentiment index jumped to 101.1 in October after dipping to 95.1 in September. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a preliminary reading of 95.3 for October.

What happened: The economic expansion, after eight years, is finally being noticed.

This represents a 15.9% increase year over year.

The so-called "current economic conditions" sub-index jumped from a reading of 111.7 for September to 116.4 for October, while that tracking consumers' expectations increased from 84.4 to 91.3.

Stronger consumer sentiment has translated into increased spending in some pockets of the economy, though recent hurricane activity continues to cloud the underlying economic picture.

A measure of USA consumer sentiment rose swiftly in the first half of October to its highest level since 2004, a robust sign for household spending this fall.

"While the early October surge indicates greater optimism about the future course of the economy, it also reflects an unmistakable sense among consumers that economic prospects are now about as good as could be expected", Curtin said.

Other economists said the underpinning for the rosy outlook comes from sustained job growth and the stock market's bull run.

"This "as good as it gets" outlook is supported by a moderation in the expected pace of growth in both personal finances and the overall economy", Mr. Curtin said. Confidence among American consumers fell only slightly in September after two major hurricanes struck the USA, the Conference Board said in September.

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