More positive news on the state of the economy came to light Friday as U.S. consumer sentiment surprisingly jumped to heights it hasn’t seen in five years. The encouraging economic data is another weapon President Obama can add to his arsenal in his bid for reelection this November.
According to a preliminary October reading by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan, the overall index on consumer sentiment rose to 83.1, the highest recorded mark since September 2007. Experts had not expected the figure to increase from last month’s 78.3 reading so quickly.
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But consumers evidently feel more confident now than they have in years, and good news for the economy is also good news for Obama, who has faced stinging criticism from Republican challenger Mitt Romney on his handling of the economy and his ability to create jobs and growth.
Coming just one day after the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan and less than four weeks before the election, the consumer sentiment data joins strong recent unemployment numbers as fodder for Obama’s cannon. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in September, the lowest in almost four years, and the Obama campaign is sure to hammer the good economic tidings home in the coming weeks.
“We are getting some quite interesting signals from consumer sentiment and employment data – both (the) unemployment rate and initial claims – that there has been some quite significant improvement in the economy,” said 4Cast economist David Sloan.