U.S. consumer confidence falls in February

Consumer confidence decreased in February as consumers expressed concerns regarding business conditions and job prospects, according to The Conference Board.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index fell to 78.1 in February from 79.4 in January. 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 critical part of a strong rebound.

Those expecting business conditions to improve during the next six months decreased to 16.3 percent from 17 percent, and those expecting business conditions to worsen increased to 13.3 percent from 12.2 percent.

Additionally, 13.3 percent expect more jobs during the next six months compared with 15.1 percent in January. Those expecting fewer jobs increased from 19 percent to 20.6 percent.

"Consumer confidence declined moderately in February on concern over the short-term outlook for business conditions, jobs and earnings," says Lynn Franco, The Conference Board's director of economic indicators. "While expectations have fluctuated over recent months, current conditions have continued to trend upward, and the present situation index now is at its highest level in almost six years. This suggests that consumers believe the economy has improved, but they do not foresee it gaining considerable momentum in the months ahead."

Date : 3/5/2014