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Consumer Confidence Improves In December

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BOZEMAN -

Consumer Confidence Rebounded in December after dipping in November

Economists it is a sign the economy is improving.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence index said consumer attitudes rose to 78.1, after dipping to 72 in November.

The Consumer Confidence Index is a monthly survey measuring what people buy and watch.

Montana State University economics professor Vincent Smith says this is a good sign.

"It reflects an underlying improvement in the general economy," said Vincent Smith, MSU Economics Professor. "Part of that is being driven by a recovery in housing."

Smith said another factor is lower unemployment in 2013 than 2012, so more people have more money to spend.

He said the index says more about 2014 than 2013.

"It strongly suggests people are viewing 2014 as a better year than 2013," said Smith.

He also said economists are expecting more confidence in the economy as long as our trading partners grow with us.

"Europe, which is a major trading partner with us, has not been doing so great," said Smith. "On the other hand, China, which is also another major trading partner continues to see some economic growth."

And on the home front, Smith said the progress made in Washington during December will help continue to grow the economy next year.

"It means we are really unlikely to have major concerns such as shutdowns over the national debt," said Smith.

Congress was able to pass a two year federal budget last week, preventing another partial government shutdown, like we saw in October, for at least two years.

This year, the Consumer Confidence Index was at its highest in September at 80.2 just before the government shutdown.

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