WASHINGTON (AP) -- An improving job market drove U.S. consumer confidence higher this month after a dip in February.
The Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose to 101.3 in March from revised 98.8 reading in February.
The business group takes into account expectations for the future and consumers' assessment of current conditions. Consumers were more optimistic about the future, but a little less impressed with current economic conditions.
Over the past year, employers have added nearly 3.3 million jobs, the fastest 12-month pace of hiring since 1998. Consumers are certainly acting more confident: Their spending rose at a 4.4 percent annual rate from October through December, the fastest pace in eight years.