ECONOMY

US consumer confidence rises to highest level since 2001

U.S. consumer confidence rose to the highest level in more than 15 years, good news for the economy.

The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index rose to 114.8 in February from 111.6 in January and the highest since July 2001.The index measures both consumers' assessment of current conditions and their expectations for the future. Both improved in February.

"Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue expanding in the months ahead," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators for the business group.

Americans overall have been in a sunny mood since the Nov. 8 election of Donald Trump ended a divisive presidential campaign and increased the odds of a tax cut.

Economists closely monitor consumers' mood because their spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.