The confidence of U.S. consumers in the way the economy is going and in their personal financial prospects improved in March followed a decline in February, The Conference Board said Tuesday.

The Board's Consumer Confidence Index, prepared from surveys, stands at 82.3 percent, compared with 78.3 in February, and above the 78.4 percent forecast by analysts consulted by MarketWatch.

"Consumer confidence improved in March, as expectations for the short-term outlook bounced back from February's decline," Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement.

The confidence shown by consumers about how the economic and job situation will look in six months increased this month to 83.5 percent compared with 76.5 last month.

Meanwhile, the sub-index that studies consumer confidence in the current situation dropped to 80.4 percent compared with 81 percent in February.

"While consumers were moderately more upbeat about future job prospects and the overall economy, they were less optimistic about income growth," Franco said.

Consumer spending represents almost 70 percent of economic activity in the United States, which is why consumer confidence is a factor closely watched by economic analysts. EFE