Consumer confidence heads in the right direction

The Conference Board reported Tuesday morning that its Consumer Confidence Index increased to 56.0 in November, up from 40.9 in October.

That's not the only metric improving. The Expectations Index rose to 67.8 from 50.0, and the Present Situation Index increased to 38.3 from 27.1. 

It's certainly not partying like 1985 -- when the Index was set at 100. But it's an improvement welcomed by Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. 

"Confidence has bounced back to levels last seen during the summer (July 2011, 59.2)," Franco said. "Consumers' assessment of current conditions finally improved, after six months of steady declines. Consumers' apprehension regarding the short-term outlook for business conditions, jobs and income prospects eased considerably. Consumers appear to be entering the holiday season in better spirits, though overall readings remain historically weak."

The November confidence metric of 56.0 was also ahead of November 2010, when the index stood at 54.3.