US consumer confidence at highest level in 5 years

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A survey shows consumer confidence rose this month to the highest level in five years, an encouraging sign for the still-weak economy

The University of Michigan's final index of October consumer sentiment rose to 82.6 from 78.3 in September. That's the highest since September 2007 — three months before the Great Recession began.

Falling gas prices and a slightly better job market lifted consumers' outlook. The unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, the first time since July 2009 than it has been below 8 percent.

The survey followed a government report that said consumer spending helped boost economic growth in the July-September quarter to a 2 percent annual rate. That's up from a 1.3 percent rate in the April-June quarter.

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