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Consumer confidence hits two-year low

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index declined in October after a slight improvement the previous month.

The index now stands at 39.8, down from 46.4 in September. The Present Situation Index decreased to 26.3 from 33.3. The Expectations Index declined to 48.7 from 55.1 last month.

“Consumer confidence is now back to levels last seen during the 2008-2009 recession. Consumer expectations, which had improved in September, gave back all of the gain and then some, as concerns about business conditions, the labor market and income prospects increased,” Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement.

October’s index was the lowest since March 2009.

“Consumers' assessment of present-day conditions did not fare any better,” Franco added. “The Present Situation Index posted its sixth consecutive monthly decline, as pessimism about the current economic environment continues to grow.”

Consumers' appraisal of present-day conditions deteriorated further in October. Those who said business conditions are “bad” increased to 43.7 percent from 40.5 percent, and those who said business conditions are “good” decreased to 11 percent from 12.1 percent. Consumers' assessment of the labor market was also less favorable. Those who said jobs are “plentiful” decreased to 3.4 percent from 5.6 percent. However, those who said jobs are “hard to get” decreased to 47.1 percent from 49.4 percent.

Consumers' short-term outlook, which had improved last month, dropped in October. Those who expect business conditions to improve during the next six months decreased to 9.1 percent from 11.8 percent, and those who expect business conditions to worsen edged down to 21.5 percent from 21.9 percent.

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