Consumer Confidence at Highest Level Since 2007

Regardless of high gas prices, U.S. consumers are more confident about the economy than they have been since late 2007, according to the latest consumer survey by Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan.

The survey also reported that more households are describing the most improved financial situation in the last four years and are the most optimistic about employment prospects. Perhaps even better news for businesses, the data from the survey indicates “inflation-adjusted personal consumption expenditures can be expected to grow by 2.3% in 2012.” Consumer spending drives two-thirds of the economy.

The U.S. Commerce Department also weighed in and said “personal spending rose by a bigger-than expected .8% month over month in February, the largest monthly rise since July.”

All the upbeat consumer news is tempered by a warning from the survey director Richard Curtain, “Gas prices of $4 are no longer shocking, if they approached $5, the impact would be widespread and substantial.”