Consumer confidence shows up a bit weaker this month than it was in February, but overall, shoppers still feel a lot better about the economy now than they did a few years ago.

The small retreat in the Consumer Confidence index, generated by the New York-based Conference Board, still leaves that index at just over 70. 90 and above means consumers are confident the economy is healthy. Board Economist Ken Goldstein says the story in getting the index back to the 90's is will gas prices moderate, will job growth be sustained and will we get some good news from the housing market?

He says if the answer to all three is on a positive side, we should be on that kind of a range before we hit the shore this summer.

Consumers are not as confident as they should be, but they are feeling better about buying than they were in the dark days of February 2009, when the index sunk to its all-time low. At that time, the Consumer Confidence index was reading a sad 25.3.

A reading of how confident consumers are is a critical component and measure of the economy because consumers, people buying everything from houses to paper clips, accounts for about 70 percent of our economy.