The consumer confidence index surged to 70.3 in September from an upwardly revised 61.3 last month, The Conference Board reported Tuesday.

The August index was originally reported as 60.6.

The present situation index grew to 50.2 from an upwardly revised 46.5, originally reported as 45.8, while the expectations index rose to 83.7 from an upwardly revised 71.1, originally reported as 70.5.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted a 63.0 reading for the index.

"The consumer confidence index rebounded in September and is back to levels seen earlier this year (71.6 in February 2012)," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "Consumers were more positive in their assessment of current conditions, in particular the job market, and considerably more optimistic about the short-term outlook for business conditions, employment and their financial situation. Despite continuing economic uncertainty, consumers are slightly more optimistic than they have been in several months."

Business conditions were called "good" by 15.5% of respondents in September, up from 15.3% in August. Those saying conditions are "bad" dipped to 33.3% from 34.4%.

The percentage of consumers expecting a pickup in business conditions in the next half year grew to 18.2% from 16.7%, while 13.8% said they expect conditions to worsen, down from 17.6% the prior month.

On the jobs front, those who believe jobs are "plentiful" rose to 8.3% in September from 7.2% in August, while the number saying jobs are "hard to get" decreased to 39.9% this survey from 40.6%. The respondents who see fewer jobs becoming available in a half year, decreased to 18.5% from 23.7%. Those expecting more jobs to become available climbed to 18.5% from 15.8%, The Conference Board reported.

Income expectations were better, with 16.3% of consumers anticipating an increase in their income in the next six months, up from the prior month's 16.0%, while 14.1% expect their income to decrease, down from 16.7% in the prior month's survey.

The number of consumers who expected to buy a home in the next six months fell to 5.0% from 5.5%, while the number of respondents planning to buy a car increased to 12.1% from 11.6%. More consumers than last month said they plan to buy a major appliance in the next six months (49.2% vs. 48.3%).

More respondents than last month (45.7% vs. 41.9%) expect to take a vacation in the next six months, but more said they would stay in the U.S. rather than leave the country. Cars rather than airplanes were the preferred mode of travel, by a 25.4%-21.5% margin.

The consumer confidence survey is based on a probability design random sample by the Nielsen Company.

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