Very strong consumer confidence report from the Conference Board today. The overall index jumped to 60.6 in January from 53.3 in December, beating expectations by 6 points, and moving to the highest level since May of last year. That was before the US economy hit a rough patch in the summer. The increase came as a result of big jumps in both the present situation index and the expectations index, showing consumers feel better both about the now and the future. Consumers were more optimistic about the job market and business conditions, though in an overall sense pessimists still far outnumber optimists.

Here's a chart of the last 4 years of this indicator:

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Consumer confidence data has been mixed of late, but this should help the US recovery story as more confidence consumers can translate to more consumer spending. Overall a positive for the US fundamental  macro-economic picture.

From the Release: Says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center: Consumers have begun the year in better spirits. As a result, the Index is now near levels not seen since last spring (May 2010, Index 62.7). Consumers rated business and labor market conditions more favorably and expressed greater confidence that the economy will continue to expand and generate more jobs in the months ahead. Income expectations are also more positive. Although pessimists still outnumber optimists, the gap has narrowed.