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Consumers shop as they wear a mask at a Walmart store in Vernon Hills, Ill., Sunday, May 23, 2021. U.S. consumer confidence rose for a fifth month in June to the highest level since the pandemic began last year as households responded to increased vaccinations and the further re-opening of businesses. (Photo: AP/Nam Y Huh)

US consumer confidence up in June, highest level since pandemic

Consumers shop as they wear a mask at a Walmart store in Vernon Hills, Ill., Sunday, May 23, 2021. U.S. consumer confidence rose for a fifth month in June to the highest level since the pandemic began last year as households responded to increased vaccinations and the further re-opening of businesses. (Photo: AP/Nam Y Huh)

US consumer confidence rose for a fifth month in June to the highest level since the pandemic began last year as households responded to increased vaccinations and the further re-opening of businesses.

The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index increased to 127.3 in June, up from a May reading of 120.0.

The June increase reflected an improvement in consumers’ assessment of current conditions.

In this June 25, 2020, file photo, a price sign is displayed at a retail store as a store employee wears a mask while working in Niles, Illinois. The number of laid-off workers applying for unemployment aid fell below one million last week for the first time since the pandemic intensified five months ago, yet still remains at a high level. (Photo: AP/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Consumer sentiment is expected to keep rising in coming months which will provide more support for consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of economic activity.

“Consumers’ short-term optimism rebounded, buoyed by expectations that business conditions and their own financial prospects will continue improving in the months ahead,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board

Franco noted that while short-term expectations about inflation had increased, this had had little impact on consumers’ confidence about purchasing big-ticket items. The proportion of consumers planning to purchase homes, automobiles and major appliances all rose as did intentions to take a vacation.

A customer wearing a mask carries his purchases as he leaves a Target store during the coronavirus pandemic, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo: AP/Mark Lennihan, File)

Consumers’ appraisal of current business conditions increased with 24.5 per cent viewing conditions as good, up from 19.9 per cent in May. Consumers’ assessment of the labour market was also up with 54.4 per cent of consumers saying jobs were plentiful, up from 48.5 per cent in May while 10.9 per cent of consumers saw jobs as hard to get, down from 11.6 per cent in May.