NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Consumer confidence got a huge boost last week, reaching a five-month high, a level not seen since February, according to a survey released Tuesday.
The ABC/Money magazine consumer comfort index rose 3 points to -8 in the week ended July 4, up from -11 a week earlier. The index has risen 12 points in the past 3 weeks.
The index now stands at its best level since early February and near its average of -9 since the survey started in December 1985.
According to the survey, 41 percent of respondents expressed confidence in the economy in the latest week, up from 40 percent the week before and above its 18-year average of 40 percent. The average peaked at 80 percent on Jan. 16, 2000, but bottomed out at 7 percent in late 1991 and early 1992.
Forty-two percent of those surveyed said it's an excellent or good time to buy things they want or need, up from 40 percent a week earlier. The highest level of confidence in this category, 57 percent, was set on Jan. 16, 2000, and the worst, 20 percent, in the fall of 1990.
And opinions on personal finance rose one percentage point, as 55 percent of those polled said their finances are good or excellent, up from 54 percent the week prior. The best was 70 percent on Aug. 30, 1998, which was matched in January 2000. The worst was 42 percent on March 14, 1993.
The ABC/Money consumer comfort index was based on a random survey of 1,000 respondents nationwide ended July 4. The index measures typical Americans' confidence in three areas: the national economy, their own finances, and their willingness to spend money, according to the report.