WASHINGTON (AP) - A strong job market and low gasoline prices helped boost U.S. consumer confidence again this month.

WASHINGTON (AP) A strong job market and low gasoline prices helped boost U.S. consumer confidence again this month.

The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index rose to 98.1 in January from 96.3 in December. The business research group said Americans were more confident about the future, though their assessment of current economic conditions was unchanged from December. Consumers shrugged off a recent drop in the stock market.

Consumers' spirits have been lifted by healthy hiring and falling gas prices. From October through December, employers added a robust average of 284,000 jobs a month. The unemployment rate remained at a seven-year low 5 percent in December. The average price of a gallon of gasoline has reached $1.83 from $2 a month ago, according to AAA.