The consumer confidence index jumped to 57.9 in April from a downwardly revised 52.3 last month, the Conference Board reported yesterday.

Economists predicted the index would be 71.0.

The present situation index climbed to 28.6 from a downwardly revised 25.2, while the expectations index increased to 77.4 from an upwardly revised 70.4 last month.

“Consumer confidence, which had rebounded in March, gained further ground in April,” said Lynn Franco, director of the board’s Consumer Research Center.

“The index is now at its highest reading in about a year and a half (September 2008, 61.4). Consumers’ concerns about current business and labor market conditions eased again,” she said.

“And, their outlook regarding business conditions and the labor market was also more positive than last month,” Franco  added. “Looking ahead, continued job growth will be key in sustaining positive momentum.”

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