U.S. Consumer Confidence Surged in February Despite Market Correction

A measure of U.S. consumer confidence rose more than expected in February, reaching a 17-year high as the economy accelerated.

The index climbed to 130.8 from 125.4 in January, the Conference Board, a Washington-based research association, said Tuesday in a statement. Economists had expected a reading of 127 on average, according to data provider FactSet.

The index, which is based on a survey of consumers' assessment of business and employment conditions, was at its highest since 2000.

The increasingly optimistic sentiment offered a signal that consumers are looking past this month's stock-market correction toward continued strengthening of the U.S. economy.

"Consumers' assessment of current conditions was more favorable this month, with the labor force the main driver," Lynn Franco, the conference board's director of economic indicators, said in the statement. 

Despite the recent stock market volatility, consumers expressed greater optimism about short-term prospects for business and labor market conditions, as well as their financial prospects

Federal Reserve officials, at a meeting in January, cited high levels of consumer confidence as a basis for expecting increased spending in the economy, along with gains in employment and income and increased household wealth resulting from higher asset prices.

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