US consumer confidence at 16-year high

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER Economic Indicators Associated Press

U.S. consumers gained confidence this month, with more Americans pleased by current conditions and more hopeful about the future.

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The Conference Board, a New York-based business research group, says its consumer confidence index in July rose to 121.1, up from a revised reading of 117.3 in June. Consumers' views on current conditions hit the highest level since July 2001, while expectations for the future rebounded after a slight dip in June.

Economists say the strong readings on consumer confidence are being bolstered by a healthy job market, with unemployment at a low 4.4 percent in June.

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