Consumer Sentiment Rises to 3-Year High

U.S. consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in three years in February, helped by an improving view of the labor market recovery, a survey released on Friday showed.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey's final February reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 77.5, up from 74.2 in January, and the highest since January 2008.

It was above the median forecast of 75.3 among economists polled by Reuters and also above the early February reading of 75.1.

Gains in confidence of households with incomes above $75,000 accounted for all the month's jump, the survey showed. Consumers reported "significant" labor market improvements and judged their personal finances more favorably than at any other time in the past three years.

The survey's barometer of current economic conditions also rose to the highest level since January 2008. It came in at 86.9, up from 81.8 in January. It was a tad above a forecast of 86.8.The survey's gauge of consumer expectations rose to 71.6, its highest reading since September 2009. January's reading was 69.3.

The inflation outlook was unchanged from the month before. The survey's one-year inflation expectation remained at 3.4%, while the survey's five-to-10-year inflation outlook stayed at 2.9%.