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Consumer confidence hits three-year high

Consumer confidence was up for the second straight month in February.

The index now stands at 70.4, up from 64.8 in January.

"The Consumer Confidence Index is now at a three-year high (Feb. 2008, 76.4), due to growing optimism about the short-term future," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, in a statement:

"Consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions has improved moderately, but still remains rather weak," Franco added. "Looking ahead, consumers are more positive about the economy and their income prospects, but feel somewhat mixed about employment conditions."

In February, those stating business conditions are "good" increased to 12.4 percent from 11.3 percent, while those who say business conditions are "bad" was unchanged at 39.6 percent.

Consumers' assessment of the labor market also was more positive than in January. Those saying jobs are "plentiful" rose to 4.9 percent from 4.6 percent, while those stating jobs are "hard to get" decreased to 45.7 percent from 47.0 percent.

Those expecting business conditions to improve during the next six months increased to 24.4 percent from 24 percent; those who anticipate that business conditions will worsen declined to 10.4 percent from 12.2 percent.

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