WASHINGTON (AP) -- Strong job growth lifted U.S. consumer confidence this month, as Americans looked past the economy's dismal first quarter performance.<br />
The University of Michigan says that its index of consumer sentiment rose slightly to 82.5 in June from 81.9 in May. That is still below April's reading of 84.1, which had been the highest in almost a year.<br />
The reading suggests consumers shrugged off the economy's first quarter contraction. Still, the survey was conducted before the government said the economy shrank much more than previously estimated, at an annual rate of 2.9 percent rather than 1 percent.<br />
And better confidence hasn't yet translated into more spending.<br />
Steady hiring is improving American's finances, the survey found. Forty percent of respondents said their finances had improved in June, the most in seven years.
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.