U.S. Consumer Confidence Hits 17-Year Peak

Figures released Tuesday morning demonstrated that U.S. consumer confidence rose more than expected in October to the highest in almost 17 years as Americans grew more confident about the economy and job market.

The New York-based Conference Board's confidence index rose to 125.9 (defying estimates of 121.5), the highest since December 2000, from 120.6 in September.

The consumer expectations gauge rose to 109.1, a seven-month high, from 103

Jumps in the Conference Board’s measures of the present situation and expectations signal Americans are becoming more upbeat about the economy and employment as the labour market improves and stock prices climb to records. Improvement in household confidence helps underpin their spending, the biggest part of the economy.

The results are consistent with other reports that showed economic activity and confidence are bouncing back, in part a sign that the hit from the recent hurricanes is dissipating. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index climbed in October to the strongest since the start of 2004, while the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index is near the highest level of the expansion.