Consumer confidence rebounds in sign of optimism

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WASHINGTON — US consumer confidence has rebounded to the highest reading in six years, another sign the economy’s prospects should brighten with warmer weather.

The Conference Board said its confidence index rose to 82.3 this month from a February reading of 78.3.

It was the strongest reading since the index stood at 87.3 in January 2008, just as the Great Recession was beginning.

Conference Board economist Lynn Franco said consumers are moderately more upbeat about future job prospects and the economy, though less optimistic about income growth.

‘‘Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue improving and believe it may even pick up a little steam in the months ahead,’’ Franco said.

Confidence is closely watched because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of US economic activity.

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