After declining in December, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose to 60.6 in January, up from 53.3 the previous month.
"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," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.
Surveyed consumers who said business conditions are good rose to 9.8 percent from 7.7 percent in December. The number of consumers who said business conditions are bad did not significantly change at 40.4 percent. The number of respondents who said jobs are hard to get dropped to 43.4 percent from 46 percent in December.
Consumers who said business conditions would improve in the next six months rose to 19 percent from 16.8 percent last month. And 16 percent expected jobs to be added in the coming months, up from 14.2 percent. More than 11 percent of those surveyed expected their incomes to rise, up from 9.9 percent. That could mean improved consumer activity in the next few months.