The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in January to 60.6, up from 53.3 in December.

TNS conducts the survey of 5,000 households every month for The Conference Board.

“Consumers have begun the year in better spirits,” noted Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “As a result, the index is now near levels not seen since last spring, in May 2010 when the index stood at 62.7. Consumers rated business and labor market conditions more favorably and expressed greater confidence that the economy will continue to expand and generate more jobs in the months ahead. Income expectations are also more positive.

“Although pessimists still outnumber optimists, the gap has narrowed,” Franco said.

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