Americans seem to agree with the Fed's view that the economy is slowly improving. A measure of their expectations for future growth rose to an eight-month high.
Employers have been adding jobs at stable pace, while the unemployment rate has slowly fallen to a still-high 7.6 percent. Higher home sales and prices have driven a steady housing recovery. And on Tuesday the Conference Board said the improved job market helped lift its survey of consumer confidence to the highest level in 5Â½ years, a point echoed by Friday's Michigan consumer sentiment survey.
"Consumers now believe the recovery has achieved an upward momentum that will not be easily reversed," Richard Curtin, director of the Michigan survey, said.
More Americans said they planned to buy a home, despite rising mortgage rates, according to the Michigan survey. The number of consumers who said it was a bad time to buy a home fell to the fewest in 10 years.The survey also found that rising mortgage rates and home prices may be spurring more Americans to buy homes, rather than discouraging them. The proportion of Americans who said it is a good time to buy because rates and prices will be higher in the future reached post-recession highs this month.