U.S. consumer confidence rises in February

Consumer confidence increased in February as consumers were more optimistic about business and labor conditions, according to The Conference Board.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose to 114.8 in February from 111.6 in January. A reading of 90 or higher indicates a healthy economy.

The index measures how shoppers feel about business conditions, the job market and the next six months. Economists watch the index closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity and is a crucial part of a strong rebound.

Those expecting business conditions to improve during the next six months increased from 22.9 percent to 24 percent, and those expecting business conditions to worsen rose from 10.8 percent to 11.8 percent.

Additionally, 20.4 percent expect more jobs during the next six months compared with 19.7 percent in January. Those expecting fewer jobs decreased from 14.4 percent to 13.6 percent.

"Consumer confidence increased in February and remains at a 15-year high," says Lynn Franco, The Conference Board's director of economic indicators. "Consumers rated current business and labor market conditions more favorably this month than in January. Expectations improved regarding the short-term outlook for business, and to a lesser degree jobs and income prospects. Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue expanding in the months ahead."

Date : 3/7/2017