US consumer sentiment jumps to 8-year high on greater hiring and lower gas prices

WASHINGTON – A survey finds U.S. consumers are more optimistic about the economy than at any other time in the past eight years, buoyed by more jobs and falling gas prices.

The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment has jumped to 93.6 from 88.8 in November. That’s the highest level since January 2007, nearly a year before the Great Recession officially began.

Americans may finally be shedding some of their anxiety about the economy. Half the respondents expect the U.S. to avoid a recession in the next five years, the most in a decade.

Americans are also more optimistic about pay: They expect a wage gain of 1.7 per cent in 2015, the highest since 2008. Higher expectations about pay typically suggest that Americans are more likely to demand raises.