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Consumer-confidence gauge rises to 70.8 in Feb.

Consumer-confidence gauge rises to 70.8 in Feb. (by Ruth Mantell)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- A gauge of U.S. consumer confidence rose to 70.8 in February, reaching the highest level in a year, with more optimism on jobs, the Conference Board reported Tuesday. "Consumers are considerably less pessimistic about current business and labor market conditions," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's consumer research center. "Despite further increases in gas prices, they are more optimistic about the short-term outlook." The January reading for confidence was revised to 61.5 from a prior estimate of 61.1. Generally when the economy is growing at a good clip, confidence readings are at least 90. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a reading of 64.5 for February on improving employment figures and higher stock prices. According to the U.S. Labor Department's most recent monthly employment report, total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 243,000 in January, while the unemployment rate fell to 8.3%.

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Consumer-confidence gauge rises to 70.8 in Feb.
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