BERLIN (AP) - Germany's economy, Europe's largest, is showing more signs of strength, with new figures released Thursday showing consumer confidence at a 13-year high and unemployment declining further.

BERLIN (AP) Germany's economy, Europe's largest, is showing more signs of strength, with new figures released Thursday showing consumer confidence at a 13-year high and unemployment declining further.

A closely watched survey showed German consumers are increasingly optimistic despite the crisis in Ukraine and Greece's financial woes, in large part because their disposable incomes have increased as energy prices have dropped.

The GfK research group said its forward-looking consumer climate index rose to 9.7 points for March from 9.3 in February. That's the highest value since October 2001.

The survey of 2,000 consumers shows increases in their economic and income expectations, as well as their willingness to buy as "the collapse in energy prices is boosting the purchasing power of private households."

"At present, German consumers are seemingly not greatly affected by the recent escalation of the situation in eastern Ukraine, the ongoing tensions between Russia and the West as well as events in Greece," GfK said.

Separately, the unemployment rate dropped to 6.9 percent in February from 7 percent the month before, with just over 3 million people out of work, the Federal Statistical Office said. When adjusted for seasonal factors the rate remained 6.5 percent.