Consumer confidence declines to 46 in February

The Consumer Confidence Index declined in February to 46 (1985=100) compared with 56.5 in January, the Conference Board reported yesterday. The Present Situation Index decreased to 19.4 in February from 25.2 in January, and the Expectations Index declined to 63.8 from 77.3 last month, according to the report.

“Concerns about current business conditions and the job market pushed the Present Situation Index down to its lowest level in 27 years,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Consumers’ short-term outlook also took a turn for the worse, with fewer consumers anticipating an improvement in business conditions and the job market over the next six months. Consumers also remain extremely pessimistic about their income prospects. This combination of earnings and job anxieties is likely to continue to curb spending.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was more negative in February than in January, with those claiming business conditions are “bad” increasing to 46.3 percent in February from 44.7 percent in January, while those claiming conditions are “good” decreased to 6.2 percent in February compared with 8.5 percent in January. Consumers’ assessment of the job market also was more pessimistic, and their short-term outlook lost considerable ground in February, according to the report.

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