Consumer confidence up

New York City -- Consumer confidence rose more than forecast in January, reaching its highest level in eight months amid signs of an improving labor market.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment increased to 74 from 69.9 at the end of December. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey called for 71.5. The measure has increased 9.9 points in the last two months, the biggest such gain since April-May 2009.

Estimates of economists in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 68.5 to 77. The gauge averaged 89 in the five years leading to the last recession.