Feb. 27, 2007 -- The mood of consumers brightened in February, driven by a more positive outlook on jobs and business conditions, the Conference Board reported Tuesday.

Based on a survey of 5,000 households nationwide, the private research group's consumer confidence index rose from 110.2 in January to 112.5, its highest level since August 2001, the report said.

"Improving present-day business conditions and an easing in the proportion of consumers claiming jobs are hard to get have combined to lift consumers' spirits," Lynn Franco, the group's director of consumer research, said in a statement.

The group's present situation index also rose, from 133.9 to 139, as well as its expectations index, from 94.4 to 94.8, the report said.

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