Consumer confidence climbs to highest since June

NEW YORK Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:23am EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Consumer confidence rose in November to its highest level in five months, helped by improving labor market conditions and a jump in the expectations index, according to a private-sector report released on Tuesday.

The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes increased to 54.1 in November, the strongest since June, from a revised 49.9 in October.

The median of forecasts from analysts polled by Reuters was for a reading of 52.6.

The October reading was revised down from an original 50.2.

Some economists had expected gains in the U.S. stock market in September and October to give a boost to consumer confidence.

The expectations index rose to 74.2 in November, the best level since May, from 67.5 in October.

The present situation index advanced to 24.0 from 23.5.

Consumers' labor market assessment slightly improved. The "jobs plentiful" index increased to 4.0 from 3.5. The "jobs hard to get" index was at 46.5 percent in November, compared with 46.3 percent in October.

Americans are more upbeat about future jobs prospects. Those expecting fewer jobs in the months ahead fell to 18.8 percent from 22.3 percent, while those expecting more jobs rose to 15.5 percent from 14.5 percent.

(Reporting by Wanfeng Zhou; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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