Consumer confidence at 4-year high

  @emilyjanefox November 1, 2012: 11:01 AM ET
consumer confidence shopping
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Consumer confidence in October rose to its highest level in four years, boosted by improvements in the job market.

The closely watched index, which measures how Americans feel about the economy, edged higher to a reading of 72.2 from a downwardly revised 68.4 in September, according to The Conference Board, a business research firm.

It marks the highest level since February 2008, when the country was at the early stages of a long and deep recession.

The reading came in slightly higher than what economists were expecting, according to a Briefing.com consensus.

A key factor behind Americans' optimism, was the improving employment picture. The number of workers reporting that jobs were "plentiful" increased more than 2%. People who are expecting more jobs in the coming months increased to 19.2% from 18.1%.

Related: Obama's recover: a snapshot

This confidence in the job market comes on the heels of a positive report on Thursday, which showed that private sector hiring jumped in October.

These positive indicators land just a day before the closely-watched government's official monthly job report, which gives an expansive picture of national employment. It has taken on increased importance this month because it will give American voters one last snapshot into the health of the job market before the presidential election on Nov. 6.

Chinese workers: America's loss is our gain

Economists are expecting the unemployment rate to edge slightly higher, up 0.1% to 7.9%.

Economists keep a close watch on consumer confidence, because it often dictates how they spend. Consumer spending drives about 70% of the U.S. economy and it is particularly important during this time of the year, when retailers are gearing up for the holiday season.

"Consumers were modestly more upbeat about their financial situation and the short-term economic outlook, and appear to be in better spirits approaching the holiday season," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. To top of page



Join the Conversation
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.28%4.26%
15 yr fixed3.30%3.30%
5/1 ARM3.35%3.30%
30 yr refi4.32%4.25%
15 yr refi3.35%3.29%
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
CNNMoney Sponsors
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.