“Americans’ confidence rose in December to an almost eight-year high, pointing to a pickup in holiday-related purchases,” reports Bloomberg Businessweek.
The story reports: “The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary December index of consumer sentiment increased to 93.8, the highest since January 2007, from 88.8 last month. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for an increase to 89.5.
“Gasoline prices approaching $2.50 a gallon on average are freeing up disposable income at just the right time for merchants during their busiest time of the year. Consumer optimism about the economy, also spurred by hiring and wage growth, indicates further spending gains after a November retail sales increase that was the strongest in eight months.”
Furthermore, the story notes, “Americans’ views of their personal finances” increased to their highest level since February 2007.
In addition, “The gauge of Americans’ expectations about the economy six months from now rose to 86.1” this month, “the strongest since January 2007, from 79.9 last month. It marked the biggest one-month gain” in almost a year and a half.
As retail sales rose, the report also says, “Stronger demand has coincided with the largest advance in employment in almost three years. The 321,000 advance in November payrolls followed a 243,000 gain that was stronger than initially reported by the Labor Department. The gain in hiring extended from factories to retailers, while average hourly earnings climbed the most since June of last year.”