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News Summary: Consumer mood up on hiring outlook

The Associated Press

CONFIDENCE UP: The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence rose to 68.1 in April, helped by a better outlook for the job market and expectations for higher pay. The increase was from a reading of 61.9 in March.

RISING PAY, SPENDING: Higher income has helped offset an increase in Social Security taxes that took effect Jan. 1. The government reported Friday that consumer spending rose from January through March at the fastest pace in more than two years.

STILL LOW: The confidence index remains well below the 90 reading that indicates a healthy economy — a level it hasn't reached since December 2007.