Consumer Confidence Improves, But Still Not Healthy [AUDIO]
Consumer confidence has jumped to a seven-month high, partly because of the prospect of better hiring.
The Conference Board says its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 70.3 in September, up from 61.3 in August. It's the highest reading since February, when the economy added 259,000 jobs.
Board Economist Ken Goldstein says consumers this month woke up to the fact that the economy is not declining, it is growing. He says it is growing slowly, but it is not declining.
The rule of thumb here is that 90 or above is a healthy economy, so at 70, we still have a way to go. Goldstein says three-and-a-half years after the official end of the recession,we still have very weak overall consumer confidence.
Goldstein says the heightened consumer confidence should bolster hopes for a better holiday retail season, but only because last year's was lackluster. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in the incomes edged up to 16.3 percent from 16.0 percent.
The upbeat report on confidence comes as a widely watched index on home prices offered more evidence of a housing recovery.