A private group said Tuesday U.S. consumer confidence jumped this month to the highest level since February, boosted by a stronger hiring outlook. The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 70.3, up from 61.3 in August, making it the highest reading since February, when the economy added 259,000 jobs. The indicator is watched closely because consumer spending drives nearly 70 percent of economic activity. The reading is still below 90, a level that indicates a healthy economy. Since the beginning of the year, the index has fluctuated sharply. The survey was conducted in September and showed consumers were more optimistic about the current availability of jobs and their outlook over the next six months.