U.S. consumer confidence falls in October

Consumer confidence dropped in October as consumers continued to be concerned about business conditions and the job market, according to The Conference Board.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index decreased from 46.4 in September to 39.8 in October. A reading of 90 or higher indicates a healthy economy.

The index measures how shoppers feel about business conditions, the job market and the next six months. Economists watch the index closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity and is a crucial part of a strong rebound.

Those expecting business conditions to improve during the next six months fell from 11.8 percent to 9.1 percent, and those expecting business conditions to worsen dropped slightly from 21.9 percent to 21.5 percent. Additionally, 11.3 percent expect more jobs during the next six months compared with 11.9 percent in September, and those expecting fewer jobs dropped from 28.6 percent to 27.4 percent.

"Consumer confidence is now back to levels last seen during the 2008-09 recession," says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Consumer expectations, which had improved in September, gave back all the gain and then some as concerns about business conditions, the labor market and income prospects increased. Consumers' assessment of present-day conditions did not fare any better. The present situation index posted its sixth consecutive monthly decline as pessimism about the current economic environment continues to grow."

Date : 11/8/2011