US consumer confidence brightens in September

US consumer confidence grew moderately in September, building on August's strong rebound, as consumers turned more positive about current economic conditions, the Conference Board reported Tuesday.

The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 103.0 in September, from a slightly downwardly revised 101.3 last month, beating market expectations for a sharp drop in confidence.

"While consumers view current economic conditions more favorably, they do not foresee growth accelerating in the months ahead," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

The index for views of the current situation jumped to 121.1 in September from 115.8, while that for the outlook in the coming six months slipped slightly.

Respondents to the survey grew more optimistic about current business conditions but were divided about the job market.

Looking ahead, fewer consumers expected business conditions to improve in the next half year, and more expected them to worsen. Those seeing "plentiful" jobs rose three percentage points to 25.1 percent, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" also rose, by almost the same amount, to 24.3 percent.

Jeremy Cohn, a Moody's Analytics analyst, noted the improvement in consumer sentiment had taken the index to its highest level since January.

"The unemployment rate is trending downward toward 5.0 percent, and more consumers are optimistic about the job market than pessimistic for the first time since before the Great Recession," he said.