WASHINGTON – U.S. consumer confidence this month reached its highest point in nearly seven years, boosted by strong job gains.
The Conference Board says its confidence index rose for a fourth straight month to 92.4 from 90.3 in July. The August reading is the highest since October 2007, two months before the Great Recession officially began.
The optimism suggests that Americans will be more likely to spend in the months ahead, an important boost to the economy. Consumer spending drives about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.
The survey found that Americans' outlook on the job market brightened considerably. The percentage of respondents who said jobs were "plentiful" rose to 18.2 percent from 15.6 percent in July. That's the highest level since 2008. Consumers' perceptions generally track the unemployment rate over time.