The Conference Board's widely watched consumer confidence index is one gauge of how consumers are feeling.
There was a "modest gain" in consumer confidence this month, the private Conference Board just reported.
Its widely watched consumer confidence index edged up to 65.4 from 63.8 in March.
The increase was due in part to more optimism about the economy's short-term outlook and somewhat less concern among consumers about inflation — something that could change in coming months if gasoline prices continue their sharp upward trend.
Consumer confidence is a key economic indicator because consumers purchase about 70 percent of all goods and services — meaning their demand drives the economy.
Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.