Consumers most upbeat on the economy since before the recession

Consumers' feelings about the economy ended the year on a high note and are finally back to where they were before the recession started seven years ago.

Confidence in the economy finally crossed back into positive territory for the first time since before December 2007, with expectations for next year expected to show continued improvement, Gallup reported on Tuesday.

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The index averaged plus-two for the week ending Dec. 28, a sign that Americans are finally feeling the positive effects of an accelerating economic recovery.

Economic growth improved to a 5 percent annual pace in the July-September quarter, the best showing in 11 years.

After months of little movement, the index started its climb in mid-September, as gas prices fell and job gains picked up pace.

In fact, for the week of Dec. 22, the average price of gasoline was down to levels last seen in early 2009.

Additionally, the U.S. stock market rose in December to its highest levels in history, while the unemployment rate fell to the lowest since Gallup's daily tracking began in January 2008.

Other economic indicators also have shown significant upticks in recent months.

The current conditions component saw a six-point increase last week, while the outlook component increased by eight points.

For the week ending Dec. 28, 27 percent of Americans said the economy was "excellent" or "good," while 27 percent said it was "poor."

Meanwhile, 49 percent of Americans said the economy is "getting better" and 45 percent said it is "getting worse," resulting in an outlook score of plus-four.