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Consumer Confidence Rose This Month

Consumers felt a bit better in November — a good sign for the economy if it means demand for goods and services will pick up as well.

According to the private Conference Board, its widely watched consumer confidence index rose to 54.1 this month from 49.9 in October. That puts the reading "at its highest level in five months, a welcome sign as we enter the holiday season," Conference Board Consumer Research Center Director Lynn Franco said in a statement.

As the Associated Press says, while the reading may be welcome, it isn't a sign of boom times: "Economists watch confidence closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity and is critical to a strong rebound. It takes a reading of 90 to indicate a healthy economy."

Our friends at Planet Money figure out the economic news over here.