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Consumer confidence rises to match four-year high


NEW YORK — A report released by Bloomberg showed that household confidence improved last week to match the highest level in four years.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was minus 31.4 in the period ended April 15, compared with minus 32.8 over the previous seven days. The reading equaled that from two weeks earlier as the best since March 2008.

Despite the strong showing, the monthly expectations measure fell from a one-year high, showing ongoing concerns that too many Americans are still unemployed.

“The uneven nature of the recovery will likely continue to restrain the type of improvement in consumer sentiment that one would traditionally observe at this point in the expansionary cycle,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York.

Jobless applications fell by 2,000 to 386,000 in the week ended April 14 from a revised 388,000 the prior period that was higher than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed Thursday in Washington. The median forecast of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a drop to 370,000.

The positive news comes on the heels of this week’s announcements that retail sales rose a better-than-expected 0.8% in March. The gain was almost three times as large as projected by the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg and followed a 1% advance in February.

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