Confidence ended the year on a brighter note as low prices put U.S. consumers in the holiday spirit.
The University of Michigan said Wednesday that its final sentiment index for the month climbed to 92.6, the highest since July, from 91.3 in November. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a reading of 92 after December’s preliminary figure of 91.8.
Cheap gasoline prices and a labor market that’s added millions of Americans to payrolls have buttressed sentiment this year, while demand picked up enough to help convince the Federal Reserve that the economy could withstand higher interest rates. The conversion of job growth into bigger wage gains will be needed in the months ahead to further boost confidence and spending, which accounts for almost 70 percent of the economy.