The U.S. consumer confidence index climbed to 92.6 in December from a revised 91.0 in November, reflecting renewed optimism of Americans amid rapid improvement in the economy toward the end of 2014. The December reading is just slightly below a postrecession high of 94.1 set in October. Economists polled by MarketWatch had projected the index to rise to 93.8 from an preliminary 88.7 in November. The present situation index, a measure of current conditions, jumped to 98.6 from 93.7, marking the highest level since February 2008, according to the Conference Board. Yet the future expectations index slipped to 88.5 from 89.3. "Consumer confidence rebounded modestly in December, propelled by a considerably more favorable assessment of current economic and labor market conditions," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the nonprofit organization. "Consumers were moderately less optimistic about the short-term outlook in December, but even so, they are more confident at year-end than they were at the beginning of the year."
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