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Sunday, December 11, 2016

In another sign that the U.S. economy is improving, a new Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey shows that consumer confidence has risen to its highest level in over five years.

According to the University of Michigan index, which measures both people’s assessment of their current financial conditions and their expectations for the future, consumer confidence rose to 83.1 — a nearly 5-point jump from last month’s rating of 78.3. That significantly beat the expectations of most analysts, who expected the rating to drop.

“What changed was how [consumers] evaluated economic conditions,” survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement. “Economic conditions during the year ahead were expected to be ‘good’ by more consumers, and more consumers expected ‘good’ economic times over the next five years.”

As this chart from Bloomberg/Business Insider shows, this represents the highest consumer confidence rating since September of 2007.

This is the third high-profile piece of positive economic news to come out in the past week: last Friday the Labor Department reported that unemployment had fallen to 7.8 percent, and yesterday it reported that jobless claims had dropped to their lowest level in four years.

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