Optimism among U.S. consumers this month surged beyond economists' projections, according to The Conference Board's confidence index. "Looking ahead, consumers are considerably less pessimistic than they were earlier this year, and expectations are that business conditions, the labor market and incomes will improve in the coming months," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "While confidence is still weak by historic standards, as far as consumers are concerned, the worst is now behind us."

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