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Consumer confidence dips in December

The consumer confidence index dropped to 52.5 in December, down from 54.3 in November.

"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, in a statement.

"Consumers' assessment of the current state of the economy and labor market remains tepid and their outlook remains cautious," Franco added. "Thus, all signs continue to suggest that the economic expansion will continue well into 2011, but that the pace of growth will remain moderate."

Consumers' appraisal of present-day conditions was slightly more pessimistic than in November. The percentage of consumers saying business conditions are "bad" decreased to 41.2 percent from 42.9 percent, however, those who say business conditions are "good" declined to 7.5 percent from 8.5 percent.

Consumers' assessment of the labor market was less favorable than last month. Those saying jobs are "plentiful" decreased to 3.9 percent from 4.3 percent and those stating jobs are "hard to get" edged up to 46.8 percent from 46.3 percent.

Consumers' expectations were slightly less optimistic than in November. Those expecting an improvement in business conditions during the next six months edged up to 16.6 percent from 16.4 percent, and those anticipating business conditions will worsen edged down to 12.1 percent from 12.4 percent.

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