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US consumer confidence rises, hits highest level since 2000

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WASHINGTON (AP) - American consumers are feeling confident as the holiday season approaches.

The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index hit 129.5 this month, up from 126.2 in October and highest since November 2000.

The business research group's index measures consumers' assessment of current conditions and their outlook for the next six months. Both improved this month.

"Consumers are entering the holiday season in very high spirits and foresee the economy expanding at a healthy pace into the early months of 2018," says Lynn Franco, the Conference Board's director of economic indicators.

Economists closely monitor the report because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of U.S. economic output. The U.S. economy expanded at a healthy 3 percent annual pace from July through September; unemployment has dropped to a 17-year low.

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