Consumer sentiment rose last month and hit the highest levels in eight months according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index. Americans are feeling better about the jobs market after the jobs market started turning around in December. 34% of consumers said they had heard about recent jobs gains, up from December’s 21%. It appears these numbers do not take into account the most recent jobs report that saw jobless claims increase to nearly 400k.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary reading on consumer index rose to 74.0 from 69.9 in December, rising for the fifth straight month. The 74.0 reading beat estimates of 71.5 by economists polled by Reuters.
“More frequent mentions of rising employment lessened income uncertainty and prompted more favorable buying attitudes as well,” survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.
“The data suggest a stronger consumer spending outlook, rising to about a 2.1 percent gain in 2012.” The reading for current economic conditions rose to 82.6 from 79.6, while consumer expectations jumped to 68.4 from 63.6.
Consumers still feel uneasy about government economic policies with the majority rating these policies as unfavorable for the sixth straight month. They also didn’t feel their personal finances will rise with only 24% expecting their finances to increase in January.
The stock market is largely ignoring this news today as JP Morgan’s 23% dip in profits and continued uncertainty in Europe takes center stage.