By: Glenn Wilkins - Friday, March 17, 2017 American Consumers Happier Now than in Years Advertisment Consumer confidence rose south of the border in March, as Americans were more satisfied than any time in 16 years with the current state of their finances and the economy, while remaining sharply divided along party lines about the outlook. The University of Michigan's preliminary index of sentiment increased to 97.6 from 96.3 in February, according to figures released Friday morning. The median projection in a survey of economists called for 97, with estimates ranging from 95 to 100. The index of current conditions jumped three points to 114.5, the highest reading since November 2000. The survey further revealed that households reported net gains in incomes and wealth at the strongest levels in a decade, while Republicans were quote, "much more optimistic", than Democrats about expectations for their finances. Confidence is still near a 13-year high amid a stronger job market and prospects for faster growth under the new Trump administration, but threatens to wane absent more concrete policy action.