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Consumer Confidence Surges in December

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Consumer confidence in the economy surged well beyond the expected 59 percent in December to 64.5 percent, up from a revised November number of 55.2 percent, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

Many analysts consider consumer confidence an important economic indicator because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the U.S. economy.  But these latest numbers don't impress economist Peter Morici of the University of Maryland, who says that other figures -- such as overall unemployment -- are more significant.

“We see consumer confidence and other similar indicators jump up and down and we tend to get a mixed bag when that goes on,” Morici said.

“What matters are the hard numbers -- the number of jobs, the number of homes sold…housing prices,” Morici said.

Though confidence remains well below the historical average, a brightening sentiment could lead to more spending in the New Year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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