US consumer confidence advanced in July to a two-year high, bolstered by a strong job market and easing inflation.

The Conference Board’s index rose to 117 this month from 110.1 in June, data out Tuesday showed. That exceeded the median estimate of 112 in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

The group’s gauge of current conditions improved to the strongest level since March 2020. A measure of expectations — which reflects consumers’ six-month outlook — advanced to the highest since the start of last year. A gauge of expected inflation ticked down.

“Greater confidence was evident across all age groups, and among both consumers earning incomes less than $50,000 and those making more than $100,000,” Dana Peterson, chief economist at the Conference Board, said in a statement.

Recent economic data have reinforced hopes the US can avert recession, with the job market holding firm even while key inflation gauges show encouraging signs of progress. Wages are also finally keeping pace with inflation, providing many households the wherewithal to keep spending.

The share of consumers saying recession is “somewhat” or “very likely” to occur did tick up. “Still, recession expectations remained below their recent peak, suggesting fears of a recession have eased relative to earlier this year,” Peterson said.

More consumers said jobs were “plentiful” in July. The share of respondents reporting that jobs were hard to get fell to one of the lowest readings on record, and their expectations for the labor market six months from now improved.

The difference between the current “plentiful” and “hard-to-get” measures — a metric watched closely by economists as a gauge of labor-market strength — was the largest since February.

Buying plans were mixed. Larger shares of respondents plan to buy cars and homes, while fewer expect to purchase major appliances like refrigerators and washing machines.

--With assistance from Chris Middleton and Hannah Pedone.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.