February 24, 2012 | last updated April 19, 2012 2:01 pm

Consumer Sentiment Gauge Rises

Consumer confidence rose higher than expected this month due to an awareness of job growth, according to the latest Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey of consumers.

The index marked its sixth straight monthly increase. The reading of 75.3 on a scale of 1 to 100 was above market expectations of 73. However, the February reading is down over the February 2011 reading, which was 77.5.

"Consumers have shrugged off concerns about rising gas prices, the European (debt) crisis and election year politics, preferring to focus on the favorable impact of job growth," said Richard Curtin, chief economist for the survey. But Curtin offered a warning that consumers "expect too much too soon. Improved job prospects may entice many more people to seek work, easily outstripping the numbers of new jobs created."

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