WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. consumer confidence surged in April, approaching the highest level since the recession began in 2007 as Americans reported greater optimism about their financial situation and the economy.
The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment rose to 84.1 in April from 80 in March. That's just a point below the 85.1 reached last July, which was the highest in nearly seven years.
Americans have cut back on debt and benefited from steady hiring and rising stock and home prices. Just 28 percent said this month that their finances were getting worse, down from 37 percent in March and the lowest level since April 2007.
Americans were also slightly more optimistic about future hiring, the survey found, though the gains were slight.