New York: Consumers' sentiment about the US economy and their personal financial situations rose slightly in the first half of this month after touching a three-year low in August, survey results released on Friday show.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary September reading came in at 57.8 points, up from 55.7 last month.

The figure was better than the 56.5 points forecast by analysts.

The sub-index that measures expectations for the health of the economy six months out fell from 47.4 points in August to 47 during the first two weeks of September, the lowest level since 1980.

At the same time, the gauge of current economic conditions climbed from 68.7 to 74.5 points, again beating analysts' predictions.

More than 60 percent of US economic activity is linked to consumer spending.

New applications for unemployment benefits rose by 11,000 last week to 428,000, the highest level in nearly three months, the US Labor Department said Thursday.