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US consumers lift their hopes

Consumer attitudes in the third quarter showed significant improvement for the first time in three years, the latest survey of consumer attitudes conducted by the University of Michigan reports.

In the July-September 1980 surveys, the Index of Consumer Sentiment registered 67.8, up 13.4 points from the second-quarter 1980 record low reading of 54.4, and up 3.9 points from a year ago.

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Thus the direction of the recent changes has been most satisfactory; but the level of attitudes and expectations is still rather low, according to the survey director's analysis.

This represents the first significant quarterly increase since the cyclical peak was recorded more than three years ago. The quarterly improvement was made up of consecutive monthly increases during the June to September period. This sizable improvement was led by improved short-run business expectations and improved buying attitudes resulting from easing of credit restrictions and lowered interest rates.

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