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Consumer confidence surges to six-year high

By By Jonathan Sweet

Consumers are feeling more confident than they have in more than six years, according to the latest Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index.

The index improved in March to 82.3, up from 78.3 in February and its highest level since January 2008. February’s reading was also revised up.

The Expectations portion of the index, which measures future outlook, jumped seven points from 76.5 to 83.5. The Present Situation index slipped to 80.4 from 81.0.

“Consumer confidence improved in March, as expectations for the short-term outlook bounced back from February’s decline,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “While consumers were moderately more upbeat about future job prospects and the overall economy, they were less optimistic about income growth. The Present Situation index, which had been on an upward trend for the past four months, was relatively unchanged in March. Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue improving and believe it may even pick up a little steam in the months ahead.”

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