Why Consumers Are the Most Confident They’ve Been in 15 Years

American consumers are feeling upbeat, and that news could bode well for the economy.

Consumer confidence has hit its highest level since 2001, according to The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index. It now stands at 114.8 following a moderate decline in January.

An end to a stormy election season, impending tax cuts and other changes by the new administration have left Wall Street types as well as other consumers in an optimistic mood — something that experts believe will translate into more spending, which could boost the economy.

Consumers rated current business and labor market conditions more favorably this month than in January,” Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a release. “Expectations improved regarding the short-term outlook for business, and to a lesser degree jobs and income prospects. Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue expanding in the months ahead.

Investors have sent the Dow Jones, Nasdaq and S&P 500 to record highs over the past few weeks seemingly cheering several strategies coming out of Washington, D.C.

Still, consumer sentiment has varied across demographics.

According to the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, while the average consumer confidence was at a 15-year high in February, there were several groups for which confidence waned this month.

Confidence among consumers aged 35 and younger fell 10 percent in February, compared with January. Meanwhile, consumers whose household income was less than $15,000 also lost some confidence month over month.

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