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US Consumer Confidence Surges - 2004-06-30

U.S. consumer confidence increased sharply in June, indicating optimism about short-term business conditions.

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index jumped over eight points to its strongest level since June 2002. The index now stands at 101.9, up from 93.1 in May.

Lynn Franco, director of the board's Consumer Research Center, says the most recent survey, ending June 22, reflects consumers' assessment of current economic conditions.

"Part of it has been fueled by the fact that the labor market has been posting robust growth over the last several months and business conditions are improving," she said. "So the present situation is more favorable today than it has been over the course of the past year and over the course of the past two years."

The survey found consumers describing business conditions as "good" rose from 22.2 percent in May to 25.6 percent in June. At the same time, consumers saying jobs were "hard to get" decreased, while those calling jobs "plentiful" rose. The statistics, Ms. Franco says, show that consumers are optimistic about the economy over the next six months.

"I think what we are seeing, coming out of this report, [is that the sentiment of the consumer sector is up]. A variety of other economic reports are also showing that the economy continues to grow at a healthy clip," she said. "So this is just one more piece of evidence that the economy is on the right path."

The Conference Board bases its findings of consumer confidence on a monthly survey of 5,000 U.S. households.