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Consumer confidence up dramatically in February

NEW YORK — Consumer confidence in February shot up from last month to the highest level since a year ago, according to The Conference Board. The group’s Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 70.8, up from a revised 61.5 in January, buoyed by consumers' more positive assessment of the job market.

"Consumers are considerably less pessimistic about current business and labor market conditions that they were in January," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center in a statement. "Despite further increases in gas prices, they are more optimistic about the short-term outlook for the economy, job prospects and their financial situation.

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was more favorable in February. Those claiming business conditions are “good” increased slightly to 13.3% from 13.2%, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased to 31.2% from 38.3%.

Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was also less pessimistic. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” increased to 6.6% from 6.2% while those saying jobs are “hard to get” decreased to 38.7% from 43.3%.