Rising gasoline prices weren’t enough to keep consumers’ confidence from surging upward in February, according to data released today by The Conference Board Consumer Research Center in its monthly Consumer Confidence Survey. Thanks to improved employment prospects, the index was up 9.3 points for the month to a reading of 70.8—the highest level seen in a year.

"Consumers are considerably less pessimistic about current business and labor market conditions than they were in January," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board. "And despite further increases in gas prices, they are more optimistic about the short-term outlook for the economy, job prospects, and their financial situation."

The present conditions index was up 6.2% to a reading of 45.0, but the strongest performance came from the expectations index, which gained 11.3 points to a reading of 88.0, also the highest seen in a year.

The labor index, which tracks the percentage of those who feel jobs are currently "plentiful" minus the percentage of respondents who feel jobs are currently "hard to get," moved up to a reading of -32.1 compared to -37.1 last month.

Respondents who described business conditions as "good" inched up in the ranks to 13.3% from 13.2%, while those who labeled conditions as "bad" shrunk to 31.2% from 38.3% in January.

Claire Easley is a senior editor at Builder.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Greenville, SC.