WASHINGTON — Americans were more optimistic about their incomes and personal finances this month, particularly among lower and middle-class households, lifting consumers' outlook.
The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose to 91.3 in November from 90 in the previous month. That is close to the average for the past six months of 91.6.
Steady hiring and rising wages and salaries are slowly lifting Americans' confidence in the economy, though it remains muted by historical standards. The modest increase suggests consumers could spend more over the coming holiday shopping period.
Among lower and middle-income households, 38 percent expect their personal finances to improve in the coming year, compared with just 29 percent of higher-income households. The outlook for wealthier families appears to have been tempered by recent swings in the stock market.