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US consumer confidence at highest point since Aug.

Confidence reached its best level since August based on a rosier view of the job market and of business conditions.
Confidence reached its best level since August based on a rosier view of the job market and of business conditions.Kiichiro Sato/Associated Press

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WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer confidence has reached its highest point since August on the strength of a brighter view of the job market and business conditions.

The Conference Board, a business research group, says its consumer confidence index rose to 80.7 this month from a December reading of 77.5. It was the second consecutive strong gain.

Conference Board economist Lynn Franco notes that consumers’ assessment of economic conditions continues to improve. She says the rising expectations suggest that the economy is poised to pick up momentum in the months ahead.

Many analysts are forecasting that the economy will grow at around 3 percent in 2014, up a full percentage point from 2013 growth. The federal government is expected to be less of a drag on activity this year.

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