U.S. consumer confidence hits three-year high

Consumer confidence increased for the fifth consecutive month and reached its highest point in three years in February, according to The Seattle Times.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose from 64.8 in January to 70.4 in February, its highest level since February 2008; economists expected 65. 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.

"The Consumer Confidence Index now is at a three-year high because of growing optimism about the short-term future, says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions has improved moderately but still remains rather weak. Looking ahead, consumers are more positive about the economy and their income prospects but feel somewhat mixed about employment conditions."

Date : 2/22/2011