U.S. Consumer Sentiment Rises to Highest Level in 6 Months

Consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in six months in early December due to signs of better labor conditions and an improving outlook on the economy.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary reading on their overall index of consumer confidence climbed for a fourth straight month to 67.7. This compared with 64.1 in November and a low of 55.7 back in August.

The early December figure exceeded the 65.5 predicted by analysts recently polled by Reuters.

"News about recent economic developments were much more positive in early December. Reports of net job growth have increased in each of the past three months, as have assessments of current conditions in the economy," survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.

Measures of consumers' current and future assessment of economic and financial conditions also rose to their highest levels since June.

The survey's barometer of current economic conditions edged up to 77.9 in early December from 77.6 in November. Analysts had predicted a reading of 78.0.

The gauge of consumer expectations jumped to 61.1 from 55.4 in November. Analysts had forecast a reading of 57.5.

The survey's one-year inflation expectation dipped to 3.1 percent in early December, while the survey's five-to-10-year inflation outlook held steady at 2.7 percent for a third month in a row.