ECONOMY

University of Mich.: US consumer sentiment reaches second-highest level since '07 on job hopes

FILE - In this April 6, 2015 file photo, Lucy Perez, of Charlotte, N.C., pumps gas at a station in Matthews, N.C.  The University of Michigan issues its monthly index of consumer sentiment for April on Friday, May 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

FILE - In this April 6, 2015 file photo, Lucy Perez, of Charlotte, N.C., pumps gas at a station in Matthews, N.C. The University of Michigan issues its monthly index of consumer sentiment for April on Friday, May 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)  (The Associated Press)

Optimism about the job market lifted U.S. consumer sentiment in April to its second-highest level since 2007.

The University of Michigan's sentiment index rose to 95.9 from 93 in March. Only January's reading of 98.1 has been higher since 2007, the year the Great Recession began. Over the past five months, sentiment has been, on average, at its highest level since 2004.

Richard Curtin, chief economist of the Michigan survey, attributed the April increase to optimism over consistently low inflation and low interest rates and improving prospects for jobs and incomes.

The index found that consumers expect interest rates to rise from current historically low levels but only modestly. And they expect any economic damage from higher rates to be offset by the benefits of more jobs and incomes.