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Consumer Confidence Hits 15-Year High

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index increased to 114.8, the highest level of confidence since July 2001, when the number was 116.3.

The number beat expectations by almost four points, where analysts expected the number to be closer to 111, according to CNBC.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is a monthly report conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global information and analytic firm. The number is meant to measure what consumers buy and watch, as well as their attitudes and intentions.

“Consumers rated current business and labor market conditions more favorably this month than in January,” Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board said in the report.

“Expectations improved regarding the short-term outlook for business, and to a lesser degree jobs and income prospects,” Franco continued. “Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue expanding in the months ahead.”

Consumers assessment of current market conditions held steady in February, with those saying conditions are good declining from 29 percent to 28.7 percent. Those who said that market conditions are bad decreased at a greater rate, dropping from 15.9 percent to 13.2 percent.

Consumers assessment of the labor market was mixed, with those saying that jobs are “plentiful” dropping from 27.1 percent to 26.2 percent. Those who claim jobs are “hard to get” also dropped, from 21.1 percent to 20.3 percent.

The percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to increase rose slightly, from 18.1 percent to 18.3 percent.

The Consumer Confidence Index enjoyed a high mark of 116.3 during the summer of 2001, before the September 11th terrorist attacks brought the number down significantly.

The index took another steep fall during the great recession, bottoming out at 96.82 in Feb. 2009.

Read the full February Consumer Confidence Index report here.

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