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Consumer Confidence Hits Four and a Half Year High

U.S. consumer confidence rose this month to its highest level in almost five years, pushed up by steady improvement in hiring.

A customer browses garments for sale inside a Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) store in Stockholm, Sweden, on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013.
Casper Hedberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A customer browses garments for sale inside a Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) store in Stockholm, Sweden, on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose to 73.7 in November from 73.1 in October. Both are the best readings since February 2008.

Americans are more optimistic because they see the job market getting better. Employers added 171,000 jobs in October and more jobs were created in August and September than first thought.

The survey is watched closely because consumer spending drives nearly 70 percent of economic activity. It is still below 90, which is consistent with a healthy economy. It last reached that level in December 2007. The index is far above the all-time low of 25.3 touched in February 2009.

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