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US Consumer Confidence Climbs to Six-Year High

A leading U.S. business research group says consumer confidence has risen to a six-year high, reflecting an improving job market and business climate. Victoria Cavaliere reports from VOA's New York Bureau.

The New York-based Conference Board says Americans are positive about the current state of the economy, after a dip in the consumer confidence index in June. The index rose more than seven points to a six-year high in the month ending July 24.

Consumers claiming conditions are "good" rose to 28.1 percent in July, from 27.3 percent in June.

Lynn Franco, the director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center, says a healthy job market and business conditions are at play.

"It appears that [the] economy has turned the corner and that growth is going to come in stronger than what we had seen in the final quarter of last year and the first quarter of this year," she said.

Franco says falling home prices and a recent dip in the U.S. stock market have not had a big impact on consumer confidence.

On Tuesday, Standard & Poor's reported that its home prices index fell for a fifth consecutive month in May, marking the gauge's steepest drop in about 16 years. Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its worst one-week point drop in five years.

"It may be the volatility that we experienced last week in the financial market may have a very slight impact on consumer confidence readings going ahead, that all depends on whether or not the market makes up the losses," Franco said. "So far, we've had two days of gains. Also, consumers have become a little more accustomed to this volatility."

The monthly Consumer Confidence survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households.