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Consumer confidence notches higher

NEW YORK, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. consumer confidence rose for the second consecutive month in February, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Index, which uses 1985 as a base year with an assigned value of 100, rose from 64.8 in January to 70.4 in February. The Expectations Index, measuring consumer confidence in the economy six months down the road, rose from 87.3 to 95.1.

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In February, the monthly survey of 5,000 households found the number of respondents indicating economic conditions were "good" rose from 11.3 percent to 12.4 percent. The number of respondents indicating conditions were "bad" was unchanged at 39.6 percent.

Consumers were more optimistic in February about the labor market than they were a month ago. The percentage of respondents indicating jobs were "plentiful" rose from 4.6 percent to 4.9 percent, while the number indicating jobs were "hard to get" edged lower, dropping from 47 percent to 45.7 percent.

"The Consumer Confidence Index is now at a three-year high due to growing optimism about the short-term future. Consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions has improved moderately, but still remains rather weak," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, in a statement.

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