Consumers in the U.S. turned more optimistic in April as the growing economy raised hopes jobs will become available.
Americans’ outlook for the next six months climbed to the highest level since October 2007, two months before the recession began, as almost one in every five people polled thought the world’s largest economy and employment would improve.
“The sentiment numbers tell us the labor market is improving, suggesting the consumer is going to continue to spend,” said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass., whose confidence estimate of 57 matched the highest.
Stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index down for a second day, on growing concern over the European debt crisis. Treasury securities rose, reflecting demand for the safest of government securities, sending the yield on the benchmark 10-year note down to 3.68 percent from 3.81 percent late yesterday.
Pessimism is starting to abate after employers boosted payrolls in three of the past five months. More job growth will be needed to spark bigger gains in confidence, incomes and spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.
The Conference Board’s report stood in contrast to a preliminary survey by Reuters/University of Michigan issued earlier this month, which showed sentiment unexpectedly dropped as Americans fretted about jobs and health care.