Consumer sentiment climbs in June

The outlook for consumers brightened in June, as economic optimism continues despite a brutal first quarter of the year.

The consumer survey conducted by the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters reported Friday that consumer sentiment had risen to 82.5 in June. That’s above the 81.9 recorded in May, and generally above economists' expectations.

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A rosy outlook among consumers is good news for the economy, as consumer spending accounts for roughly 70 percent of economic activity.

And that optimism came about despite one of the worst quarters for the economy in years. On Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported the economy shrank by 2.9 percent in the first quarter of the year, a decline not seen since the middle of the recession in 2009.

But the optimism from consumers gives credence to the outlook shared by many economists, which is that this year's sharp decline was driven primarily by a number of one-time events, exacerbated by a brutal winter that kept a lot of economic activity bottled up.

Consumer spending in the first quarter was up only 1 percent after previously being estimated to have grown at a 3.1 percent rate. That spending climbed 4.4 percent at the end of 2013, but it appears the record-cold temperatures kept many Americans from spending at the beginning of 2014.