Index: Consumer confidence climbs to highest level since 2008

A monthly measure of consumer confidence has climbed to its highest level in nearly five years on increasingly upbeat expectations for improving business and labor conditions.

The Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index advanced another six-tenths of a point in November to 73.7. That’s the highest reading since the CCI stood at 76.4 in February 2008.

The latest results are the first to be reported since the election and come in the midst of the holiday shopping season. Economists closely monitor the index because consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of economic activity in the United States.

“This month’s moderate improvement was the result of an uptick in expectations, while consumers’ assessments of present-day conditions continues to hold steady,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators for the Conference Board, a business research and membership group. “Over the past few months, consumers have grown increasingly more upbeat about the current and expected state of the job market, and this turnaround in sentiment is helping to boost confidence.”

Consumer assessments of current business and labor conditions were nearly unchanged as the present situation component of the index slipped a tenth of a point to 56.6.

The proportion of consumers responding to the survey upon which the November index was based who described business conditions as “good” fell more than two points to 14.4 percent. But the share of those who called business conditions “bad” also fell — 1.5 points to 31.5 percent.

The proportion of consumers who called jobs “plentiful” rose nearly a point to 11.2 percent. The share of those who said jobs are “hard to get” remained unchanged at 38.8 percent.

Consumers were more upbeat in their outlook for the near term, pushing up the expectations component of the index more than a point to 85.1.

The share of consumers who expect business conditions to improve over the next six months advanced seven-tenths of a point to 22.2 percent.

The proportion of those who anticipate worsening conditions fell seven-tenths to 14.3 percent.

The share of consumers who expect more jobs to become available in coming months increased four-tenths of a point to 20.3 percent. The proportion of those who anticipate fewer jobs held steady at 19.7 percent.

The share of consumers who expect their incomes to increase dropped nearly a point to 15.9 percent.