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Consumers in U.S. Gain Confidence as Firings Recede: Economy

American consumers last week were the most upbeat in more than five years as firings retreated for the first time to the lowest level since before the recession, paving the way for a pickup in economic growth.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to minus 23.5 for the period ended Aug. 4, its strongest reading since January 2008, a report today showed. The average number of workers applying for jobless benefits declined to 335,500 in the four weeks ended Aug. 3, the least since November 2007, according to Labor Department data.