US consumer confidence hits three-year high

City A.M. Reporter
US consumers are more confident than at any time in the last three years thanks to better prospects for the economy and jobs, new data has shown.

The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes rose to 70.4 in February from a revised 64.8 in January.

Consumer confidence remains low by historical terms, but economists said they saw underlying strength in the numbers.

Anthony Chan, chief economist at J.P. Morgan Private Wealth Management, said improvements in views of the labour market bode well for consumer spending growth.

"It offers some encouraging words on the sustainability of consumer spending," he said.

Consumer confidence was at its highest level since February 2008 and better than a forecast of 65 by economists.

The expectations index, which accounts for what consumers expect to see in six months, rose to its highest level since December 2006 at 95.1 from 87.3. The present situation index advanced to 33.4 from 31.1.

Consumers' assessment of the labour market improved modestly, though the overall view of employment conditions was mixed.