Job Concerns Drive Down Consumer Confidence
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December 29 The Conference Board
consumer confidence index fell nearly two points this month, driven down by consumers' negative assessment of the jobs market.
The Index rose in the previous two months to 54.3, before falling back to 52.5 this month.
Currently, 46.8% of respondents say jobs are, "hard to get," the worst reading since February.
The gloomy jobs assessment carried over into other segments of the Index. Only 7.5% of respondents say business conditions are "good." Only 9.9% are optimistic about their income prospects.
"Despite this month's modest decline, consumer confidence is no worse off today than it was a year ago," said Lynn Franco, director of the Consumer Research Center at The Conference Board. "Consumers' assessment of the current state of the economy and labor market remains tepid, and their outlook remains cautious. Thus, all signs continue to suggest that the economic expansion will continue well into 2011, but that the pace of growth will remain moderate," she added.
The Index reached its low of less than 30 in the first quarter of 2009. It fluctuated, but with a rising trend, through the remainder of 2009 and the beginning of 2010. It dipped to this year's low in February.
The related Conference Board U.S. Leading Economic Index
increased sharply in November, the fifth consecutive month of gains. Also in November, the Index of Small Business Optimism, compiled by the National Federation of Independent Business,
registered its fourth consecutive monthly improvement.
Read the complete Conference Board news release here.