University of michiganREUTERS/Mike StoneMichigan fans cheer before the start of the NCAA football game between the University of Alabama and the University of Michigan at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas September 1, 2012.

The University of Michigan consumer confidence index jumped to 84.1 in April from 80.0 in March.

This was better than the 83.0 expected by economists and the 82.6 preliminary reading.

The outlook index climbed to 74.7 from 70.0 a month ago.

“With nonfarm payrolls generally increasing and initial jobless claims inching downward, the labour market appears to be improving, albeit, slowly, meaning that financial conditions should be improving for consumers,” said Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists previewing the report. “Stronger than expected retail and vehicle sales in March suggest that business conditions should also be improving and thereby triggering more hiring.”

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