U.S. consumer confidence rose more than expected in January to its highest level in eight months, helped by growing optimism about the economy and the jobs market, according to a private sector report released on Tuesday.

The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes jumped to 60.6 in January, the highest since May 2010, from an upwardly revised 53.3 in December.

The median of forecasts from analysts polled by Reuters was for a figure of 54.3.

The expectations index climbed to 80.3 in January, also the highest since May, from 72.3 in December. But consumers' expectations for inflation in the coming 12 months rose to the highest since July 2009, a potentially worrying sign for the economy.

The present situation index increased to 31.0, the highest since November 2008, from 24.9.

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, Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement.

Consumers' labor market assessment improved. The jobs hard to get index declined to 43.4 percent in January from 46.0 percent last month, while the jobs plentiful index rose to 5.2 percent from 4.2 percent.

Inflation expectations for the coming 12 months rose to 5.5 percent in January, matching the level in July 2009, from 5.3 percent in December.

(Reporting by Wanfeng Zhou; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)