American consumers feel a little better about the economy this month.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose from 72.3 in July, to 73.6 this month.
That marked the best showing for the index in three months and surprised economists, who had predicted the reading to remain flat, Bloomberg noted.
The index had fallen in June and July. The index of current conditions rose from 82.7 in July, to 87.6 in August, the highest reading since January 2008.
However, the index of consumer expectations for conditions in six months, dropped from 65.6 in July, to 64.5 this month, the worst showing since December.
Analysts cited by Bloomberg said rising consumer sentiment signaled that Americans were backing away from fears that the country would slip back into recession. It also raised the possibility of stronger consumer spending during the current quarter.
Earlier this week, the Commerce Department announced that retail sales in July rose more than expected.