WASHINGTON (8/2/13)--Americans became less pessimistic about the economy, with U.S. consumer confidence rising last week to the highest level in more than five years, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index.
The index climbed to -27 for the week ended July 28--the best reading since January 2008. It was -27.3 a week earlier (Bloomberg.com and Moody's Economy.com Aug. 1).
Consumers' sentiment has improved because of sustained labor market progress and escalating residential property values. That could trigger more consumer spending in the second half of the year, Bloomberg said.
As economic growth continues and gasoline prices recede from four-month highs, households are looking beyond rising borrowing costs, the index shows, said Bloomberg.
Increased hiring and improved wages--which have been a substantial challenge in the current business cycle--are the keys to ongoing improvement in the labor market and economy, said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York.