U.S. consumers were less pessimistic about the economy and their personal finances in the latest poll from Investor's Business Daily and TIPP, though overall consumer confidence remained in negative territory for the full year.
The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index grew 4.1% in December to 43.1 points from 41.4 points in November.
But overall, the index remained in negative territory for all of 2013, only the second time that has happened in the 13 years IBD/TIPP has tracked consumer confidence.
"Americans may be modestly more upbeat this month, but remain gloomier than they were when the economy entered recession in 2007," said Terry Jones, associate editor of Investor's Business Daily.
The index's latest reading is 1.7 points below its 12-month average and 1.3 points below the reading of 44.4 in December 2007, when the economy entered the recession. Readings above 50 indicate optimism, while those below 50 indicate pessimism. TIPP is a unit of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence.
Consumer confidence remained in negative territory for the 14th month in a row, with 50% of consumers believing the U.S. is still in recession, according to TIPP president Raghavan Mayur.
The latest results are based on a national poll of 907 adults from Nov. 21 to Nov. 25, with a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.
The six-month economic outlook, a measure of how consumers feel about the economy's prospects in the next six months, grew 7.6% to 41 points.
The personal-finance outlook, a measure of how Americans feel about their own finances in the next six months, inched up 0.8% to 52.8 points.
Confidence in U.S. economic policies, a gauge of views regarding how government economic policies are working, was up 5.6% to 35.7 points.