November 1, 2012 / 2:09 PM / 8 years ago

Consumer confidence at more than 4-year high in October

A shopper walks down an aisle in a newly opened Walmart Neighborhood Market in Chicago in this September 21, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Jim Young/Files

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Consumer confidence rose in October to its highest in more than four years as Americans were more upbeat about improvements in the labor market, a private sector report showed on Thursday.

The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes gained to 72.2 from a downwardly revised 68.4 in September. It was the highest level since February 2008, though it came in shy of economists’ estimates for 72.5.

September was originally reported as 70.3.

The expectations index edged up to 82.9 from 81.5, while the present situation index jumped to 56.2 from 48.7.

Consumers’ labor market assessment improved, with the “jobs hard to get” measure slipping to 39.4 percent from 40.7 percent. The “jobs plentiful” gauge gained to 10.3 percent from 8.1 percent.

Consumers “appear to be in better spirits approaching the holiday season,” Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement.

U.S. stocks added to gains immediately following the release, while investors were also taking in a report that showed manufacturing activity picked up in October. Treasuries prices slipped slightly.

Consumers views on price increases were unchanged from September with expectations for inflation in the coming 12 months holding at 5.9 percent.

The report had originally been scheduled to be released on Oct 30, but was postponed due to the storm that hit the U.S. northeast.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio

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