Consumer Sentiment Hits Highest Level Since July

U.S. consumer sentiment surged in December as Americans' outlook on the economy and job prospects improved, a survey released on Friday showed.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment jumped to 82.5 for December, up from a final reading of 75.1 in November. This was the highest reading for the index since July, and topped analyst forecasts for a reading of 76.

"All of the improvement was among households with incomes below $75,000, with upper income households showing no gain from last month's reading," survey director Richard Curtin wrote in a statement.

"Nearly all of the improvement was concentrated in the economic outlook for the year ahead and in how consumers judged buying conditions," he said.

The survey's barometer of current economic conditions jumped to 97.9 from 88.0 in November, beating expectations for a reading of 90, while its gauge of consumer expectations rose to 72.7 from 66.8, above an expected 68.

The current conditions index was at its highest since July, while the consumer expectations index was at its highest since August.

The one-year inflation expectation rose to 3 percent from 2.9 percent, while the survey's five-to-10-year inflation dipped to 2.8 percent from 2.9 percent.