NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Consumer confidence surpassed expectations and hit a three-year high in February, in the latest ray of hope for an economic recovery, a business research group said Tuesday.
The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 70.4 in February from 64.8 in January. That was far ahead of expectations of a Briefing.com economists' consensus of a 67 reading.
Lynn Franco, director of the board's Consumer Research Center, said the CPI spiked "due to growing optimism about the short-term future."
"Consumers' assessments of current business and labor market conditions has improved moderately, but still remains rather weak," Franco said. "Looking ahead, consumers are more positive about the economy and their income prospects, but feel somewhat mixed about employment conditions."
#AskSeaWorld campaign aims to set the record straight on the company's animal care, but is fueling critics on Twitter. More
Apple CEO Tim Cook has spoken out against anti-LGBT legislation in the U.S., saying the new laws are "very dangerous" and contrary to America's founding principles. More
Meet Luna, the tech-enabled mattress cover that just raised over $1.1 million on Indiegogo. More