(CNBC) Consumers were even more optimistic in October than economists polled by Reuters expected.
Consumer confidence rose to 125.9 in October, according to the Conference Board.
The index “increased to its highest level in almost 17 years,” Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement. That was in December 2000, when the index hit 128.6.
The economic weight of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma pulled down the spirits of U.S. consumers in September, when the index was relatively flat. In October, “consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved,” Franco said.
“[This was] boosted by the job market which had not received such favorable ratings since the summer of 2001,” Franco said.
The high level of confidence suggests the economy will continue to expand “at a solid pace” for the rest of 2017, Franco added.
The index takes into account Americans’ views of current economic conditions and their expectations for the next six months. Economists pay close attention to the numbers because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.