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Consumer Confidence Rose This Month

Consumers grew more confident about how things are going this month, the private business research group The Conference Board just reported.

Its widely watched consumer confidence index rose to 60.6, up from 53.3 in December. And while the reading isn't strong by historical standards, it is "near levels not seen since last spring," Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement.

Since American consumers buy about 70 percent of all the goods and services produced by businesses, their mood is an important indicator of how things may go in coming months.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.