ARLINGTON, VA-Consumer confidence in the overall economy increased in March to its highest level in more than a year, according to figures released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and CNET. Although consumers reported improved expectations for the broader economy, the CEA-CNET Indexes also show that technology spending continues to fall.

The CEA-CNET Index of Consumer Expectations (ICE) grew to its highest level since February 2008, reaching 173.1 in March. The ICE jumped nearly seven points from last month and ended three straight months of decline. The index, which measures consumer expectations about the overall economy, is also up nearly five points from this time last year.

“Consumers are feeling more confident and their overall expectations for the health of the economy are beginning to improve,” says Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s economist and director of research. “Americans continue to worry about their own job security but are feeling more confident that the economy will improve in the coming months.”

While consumers are gaining confidence in the overall direction of the economy, confidence in CE and technology dropped for the fourth straight month. The CEA-CNET Index of Consumer Technology Expectations (ICTE) fell to 67.2, a drop of more than a point from last month, marking the lowest level of the ICTE since its inception in January of 2007. The ICTE, which measures consumers’ confidence in consumer electronics and technology, is down more than 16 points from this same time last year.

“With recent increases in the stock market and some signs of firming in the real estate market, consumers are beginning to indicate they’ll be better off financially over the next year,” says DuBravac. “Still, until consumers are more confident in an economic recovery, we expect consumer spending to remain muted.”

The CEA-CNET Indexes are comprised of the ICE and the ICTE, both of which are updated on a monthly basis through consumer surveys. New data is released on the fourth Tuesday of each month. CEA and CNET have been tracking index data since January 2007. To find current and past indexes, charts, methodology and future release dates, log on