Consumer confidence jumps unexpectedly - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Consumer confidence jumps unexpectedly


NEW YORK (AP) -- More Americans are showing confidence in the economy, but the mood is still gloomy amid job worries, according to a monthly survey.

The Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index improved slightly to 53.5, up from 51 in July. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected 50.5. The improvement comes after two straight months of declines.

It takes a reading of 90 or more to indicate a healthy economy .  That level has not been reached since the recession began in December 2007.  Even though this month's reading is an improvement, it still suggests that American confidence hasn't improved from a year ago, which is a bad sign for the economy and for retailers.

Economists watch confidence closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity and is critical to a strong rebound.

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