US consumer confidence rose this month to its highest level since February 2008, the Conference Board said Tuesday, as expectations of the future brightened despite the looming fiscal cliff.
The monthly survey saw the consumer confidence index rise to 73.7, up from 73.1 in October, with those surveyed more optimistic about the short-term outlook.
But consumers showed only a little improvement in their view of the lackluster jobs market, and income expectations slipped.
The consumer confidence survey came after the November 6 presidential election and at the beginning of the holiday shopping season which saw consumers open up their wallets in stores and online at a better-than-expected pace.
"Over the past few months, consumers have grown increasingly more upbeat about the current and expected state of the job market, and this turnaround in sentiment is helping to boost confidence," said Lynn Franco of the Conference Board.
The higher index level suggested consumers are not worried about the looming package of sizable tax hikes and spending cuts to be implemented from January 1 if politicians cannot compromise on an alternative deficit-cutting plan.
Economists say the fiscal cliff policies will slice huge chunks out of households' disposable incomes and send the economy back into recession.
"President Obama's election victory looks to have helped the mood more broadly," said Robert Kavic of BMO Capital Markets.