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Consumer Confidence Hits Nine Month Low

We’re feeling worse about the economy.  Consumer confidence unexpectedly dipped to its lowest level in nine months.  The Conference Board says its index of consumer attitudes fell to 60.6 from a downwardly revised 65.4 in July.  Economists had expected an increase to 66.

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Matt Rainey, Getty Images

“What we’re seeing here is consumer anxiety.  Are we going to get fooled yet again?” said Ken Goldstein, Economist at the Conference Board.  “In three years, we’ve been disappointed, thinking that the economy is going to improve a little bit only to find out it didn’t happen.”

This year, the index declined in January, rose in February and then posted four months of declines before registering an increase in July.  August’s reading indicates that the gains in the job and housing markets aren’t big enough to put to rest Americans’ economic fears.

“The concern isn’t over where we are right now, but wondering whether this small improvement is here to stay,” said Goldstein.  “If that is the case, then consumer confidence may bump up over the next couple of months, which could make for a decent holiday shopping season for retailers.  But, if that isn’t the case and numbers beging to falter, consumers will be very disappointed yet again.  Basically, they are taking the wait-and-see approach for right now.”

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