US consumer confidence
US consumers are feeling better about the outlook for their earnings (Reuters)

A keenly-watched US consumer confidence index lifted further in August as the economy continues to add jobs.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index lifted to 81.5 during the month, beating analysts' expectations.

"Consumers were moderately more upbeat about business, job and earning prospects," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.

"In fact, income expectations, which had declined sharply earlier this year with the payroll tax hike, have rebounded to their highest level in two and a half years."

July saw another 162,000 workers taken on by US firms, while house prices lift higher - rising by 12% in June, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller property index.

The Conference Board also said consumers' expectations for the future improved in August, after a slight lull in July. The headline Expectations Index hit 88.7, up from July's 86.0.

Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months hit 20.1%, up from 19.9%, while those expecting a worsening slipped slightly to 11.1%, from 11.3% the month before.

Consumers expect payroll numbers to grow in the coming months, with 17.6% anticipating more jobs, a rise from 16.7%. Earnings expectations also lifted, with 17.4% expecting incomes increases, up from 15.7%.

A steady stream of positive domestic economic data may inspire the Federal Reserve to slow the pace of its $85bn a month quantitative easing programme of bond purchases, possibly before the end of 2013.

Global markets have been jittery at the prospect of US Fed QE tapering, wary of the potential rise in interest rates.