US consumer confidence rebounded more than expected in December following a decline in the prior month, the Conference Board said in a report released Tuesday. The Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 78.1 in December, up from 72.0 in November, the New York-based research organization said in its monthly survey. Economists had expected the index to rise to 76.8. Consumer confidence "is now close to pre-government shutdown levels," said Lynn Franco, director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board, in the report. Before the 16-day partial government shutdown starting on Oct. 1, consumer confidence was 80.2 in September. "Sentiment regarding current conditions increased to a 5-and-a-half year high, with consumers attributing the improvement to more favorable economic and labor market conditions," she said. Looking ahead, Franco also noted that consumers expressed a greater degree of confidence in future economic and job prospects, but were moderately more pessimistic about their earning prospects. According to the report, consumers anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased sharply to 17.1 percent from 13.1 percent. Meanwhile, the proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined to 13.9 percent from 15.3 percent. "Despite the many challenges throughout 2013, consumers are in better spirits today than when the year began," she added. As for sub-indices, the Present Situation Index increased to 76.2 in December from 73.5 a month ago, while the Expectations Index increased to 79.4 from 71.1 last month, according to the report.