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Consumers optimistic about recovery prospects

Consumer confidence rose for the first time since the general election during August as people felt more optimistic about the economic recovery, research indicated today.

The Nationwide Consumer Confidence Index jumped by five points in the month to 61, following three consecutive months during which confidence had fallen.

The rise was driven by an improvement in people's expectations of the state of the economy and employment market going forward.

The group's expectations index rose by seven points during the month, as the number of people who thought the economic situation would be good in six months' time increased by 3% to 26%.

There was also a 3% fall in the proportion of people who thought there would not be many jobs available going forward. But the present situation index, which measures people's perception of the current economic situation, edged ahead only slightly during August, rising by one point to 27.

Mark Saddleton, Nationwide's head of economic and market analysis, said that consumers expressed greater optimism during August causing the index to recover some of the ground lost since its interim peak in February.