BURST OF CONFIDENCE: A measure of Americans' confidence in the economy surged last month to the highest level in nearly five years, as many were encouraged by an improving job market.
THE NUMBERS: The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index rose in October to 72.2. That's up from 68.4 in September and the strongest reading since February 2008, two months into the Great Recession.
KEY BAROMETER: The index is watched closely because consumer spending drives nearly 70 percent of economic activity. The reading is still below 90, a level that indicates a healthy economy.
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