US Consumer Confidence At Highest Level In 5 Years

MARTIN CRUTSINGER

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ A survey shows consumer confidence rose this month to the highest level in five years, an encouraging sign for the still-weak economy

The University of Michigan's final index of October consumer sentiment rose to 82.6 from 78.3 in September. That's the highest since September 2007 â¿¿ three months before the Great Recession began.

Falling gas prices and a slightly better job market lifted consumers' outlook. The unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, the first time since July 2009 than it has been below 8 percent.

The survey followed a government report that said consumer spending helped boost economic growth in the July-September quarter to a 2 percent annual rate. That's up from a 1.3 percent rate in the April-June quarter.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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