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Consumer confidence rises in January

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[January 29, 2014]  NEW YORK (Reuters)  Consumer confidence rose in January as consumers grew more optimistic about both business conditions and the job market, according to a private sector report released on Tuesday.

The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes rose to 80.7 from an downwardly revised 77.5 in December. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of 78.1.

The jump puts the index near levels last seen before an autumn government shutdown that unnerved consumers.

"All in all, confidence appears to be back on track and rising expectations suggest the economy may pick up some momentum in the months ahead," Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement.

The expectations index rose to its highest since September, climbing to 81.8 from a downwardly revised 79 last month. The present situation index rose to 79.1 from a revised 75.3 in November.

The "jobs hard-to-get" index was 32.6 in January, compared with a revised 32.9 in December. Consumers' one-year inflation expectation was 5.1 percent, compared with 5.2 percent last month.

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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