Christopher S. Rugaber

WASHINGTON: Strong job growth lifted U.S. consumer confidence this month, as Americans looked past the economyís dismal first quarter performance.

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 Aprilís reading of 84.1, which had been the highest in almost a year.

The reading suggests consumers shrugged off the economyís 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.

And better confidence hasnít yet translated into more spending.

Steady hiring is improving Americanís finances, the survey found. Forty percent of respondents said their finances had improved in June, the most in seven years.