NEW YORK – The University of Michigan's closely-watched consumer sentiment index rose for a second straight month in November, in yet another sign that hopes for an economic recovery by next year overshadowed Americans' worries about job layoffs and the recession.
The index rose to 83.9 in November from 82.7 in October. That was higher than analysts' forecasts for 83.5 and was up from a preliminary reading of 83.5 released two weeks ago.
Economists and policymakers closely watch consumer confidence, which has been mostly on a downward trend since late last year after hitting a peak of 112.0 in early 2000, as consumer spending underpins about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.
The current conditions index, which gauges Americans' views on their present financial situation, rose to 95.3 in November from 94.0 in October, and up from a preliminary reading of 94.9. The expectations index, which tracks consumer attitudes about the next 12 months, rose to 76.6 in November from 75.5 in October and also up from a preliminary 76.2.
The consumer sentiment survey, conducted since 1946, is based on telephone interviews with about 500 Americans across the country on personal finances, business conditions and buying conditions. The final survey rounds out a preliminary set of data released two weeks ago.
Reuters contributed to this report.