A monthly survey shows Americans' confidence in the economy rose in November to the highest level in five months amid more hopeful signs.

The reading is an encouraging sign at the beginning of the holiday shopping season. But confidence remains weak as Americans grapple with high unemployment.

The Conference Board says Tuesday its Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 54.1, up from a revised 49.9 in October. Analysts were expecting 52.0. November's reading marks the highest point since June's 54.3.

Economists watch confidence closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity and is critical to a strong rebound. It takes a reading of 90 to indicate a healthy economy.