NEW YORK (AP) – A more upbeat outlook on jobs pushed Americans’ confidence in the economy higher in December for the second month in a row, a survey released today said.
Consumers’ expectations for the job market over the next six months reached their highest level in two years, but Americans remain gloomy about their current prospects.
Meanwhile, a closely watched home price index released Tuesday showed that home prices rose for the fifth month in a row in October, but the recovery continues to be uneven with only 11 of the 20 metro areas tracked showing gains.
The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 52.9, up from a revised 50.6 in November, but the reading is still far short of the 90 that would signify a solid economy. In October, consumer confidence was 48.7.
Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicted a reading of 52 for December.
The index, which hit a historic low of 25.3 in February, had enjoyed a three-month climb from March through May, fueled by signs that the economy might be stabilizing. The road has been bumpier since June as rising unemployment has taken a toll on consumers.