NEW YORK: US Consumer confidence improved to its strongest level in eight months in December after a lackluster performance through the fall. The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 109 from a revised 105.3 in November and 105.1 in October.

Analysts had been expecting a slight dip in the December reading to around 102.5. Despite the strong figure, the board's consumer research chief Lynn Franco said: "Given the seesaw pattern in recent months, it is too soon to tell if this boost in confidence is a genuine signal that better times are ahead."

Almost 27% of the consumers surveyed were optimistic about the employment market, saying jobs were plentiful. This was a rise from 25.7% in the previous month.

The Conference Board's Present Situation Index, which measures how consumers feel about current economic conditions, rose to 129.9 in December from 125.4 in November. The Expectations Index, which measures consumers' outlook over the next six months, improved to 95.1 in December from 91.9 the month before.

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff