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The Conference Board said yesterday that its monthly consumer confidence index hit 89.3 in January, up from 87.1 in December, an improvement on two straight months of declines.  However, the Wall Street Journal reports, "it remains below the October level of 101.4, which was the highest since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., and February’s pre-pandemic level of 132.6."

Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, pointed to the pandemic as the cause for diminished confidence, and said that "the January increase was driven by consumers’ more upbeat outlook for the economy and jobs, suggesting they foresee conditions improving in the not-too-distant future."