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US consumer confidence hits 8-month low: Conference Board

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US consumer confidence hits 8-month low: Conference Board

Consumer confidence in economic activity fell to the lowest level since April, according to The Conference Board. The Consumer Confidence Index fell 2 percentage points to 70.4 in November. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a reading of 72.6.

The November decline was much more moderate than the prior month, when confidence plummeted due to the federal government shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis. Confidence fell ten points in October, The Conference Board reported.

Job market woes were the primary factor behind this month’s drop. More Americans are concerned about long-term employment and earnings prospects, despite acknowledging modest improvements in the current period. Declining confidence could have a negative impact on holiday shopping, which is responsible for as much as 40 percent of yearly revenues for American retailers.

The assessment of overall current conditions fell slightly, as more consumers cited declining business conditions. One-quarter of respondents said business conditions are “bad,” compared to 23 percent who said the same last month. Consumers’ future expectations continue to decline. Only 16 percent of respondents believe business conditions are going to improve in the next six months, down from 16.6 in October. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead fell from 16 percent to 12.7 percent.

“The economy just has not performed very well this year and has been disappointing relative to what most people were hoping for and expecting through the course of the year,” said Stephen Stanley of Pierpoint Securities LLC.

Employment prospects continue to be the biggest hurdle for consumers. US employers added 202,000 payrolls in October, compared to just 146,000 the prior month. The pace of job creation has fallen well below expectations, pushing back the Federal Reserve’s plans to begin reigning in record stimulus. The Labor Department will release November nonfarm payroll data next week.

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