The consumer sentiment index rose a better than expected 3.9 points in November to 71.6 -- its highest level since June, as Americans sensed modest improvement in the job market. Its still below historic norms, though, and sustained job growth will be needed to send America's mood higher.
September's consumer sentiment level unexpectedly rose to 68.2 from its preliminary 66.6 reading. However, the entire gain came from more positive responses among households earning under $75,000 -- those who wouldn't be affected by a failure to extend the Bush income tax cuts for the rich.
Consumer sentiment unexpectedly rose to 75.5 in the initial June survey -- a reading that suggests consumers are becoming slightly more optimistic about the recovery%u2019s ability to improve economic conditions.