By Anna Louie Sussman

WASHINGTON -- Americans grew more optimistic about the economy in November, a welcome sign heading into the key holiday shopping season.

The Conference Board said Tuesday its index of consumer confidence jumped to 107.1 in November after dropping to an upwardly revised 100.8 in October. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected the index to rise to 101.8 in November.

Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, noted the index "is once again at prerecession levels."

The bulk of consumers were surveyed before November's U.S. presidential election, but Ms. Franco said "consumers' optimism was not impacted by the outcome" for the small sample of people surveyed after the election.

Consumers' assessment of both current and future economic conditions strengthened over the month.

Their outlook for the labor market also improved, with 26.9% of consumers saying jobs were "plentiful", up from 25.3% in October.

Economists track confidence because when consumers are upbeat, they are more likely to boost personal spending, which accounts for the bulk of the U.S. economy.

"With the holiday season upon us, a more confident consumer should be welcome news for retailers," said Mrs. Franco.

New figures on consumer spending showed it advancing 2.8% in the third quarter according to revised figures released Tuesday by the Commerce Department. That helped drive U.S. gross domestic product to its strongest quarterly growth in two years.

The Conference Board's index had soared to 103.5 in September. Personal spending and retail sales both rose in September, and retail sales posted another brisk gain in October. Thatsuggests that Americans felt comfortable opening up their wallets, despite what had been considerable uncertainty around the outcome of the election.

Write to Anna Louie Sussman at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 29, 2016 10:48 ET (15:48 GMT)

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