Consumer confidence falls in September

Washington, D.C. Consumer confidence fell in September to the lowest level in seven months as Americans became more pessimistic about the labor market, the Conference Board reported Tuesday. The group’s monthly gauge fell to 48.5 in September, the lowest reading since February.

“September’s pullback in confidence was due to less favorable business and labor market conditions, coupled with a more pessimistic short-term outlook,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board’s consumer research center. “With so few expecting conditions to improve in the near term, the pace of economic growth is not likely to pick up in the coming months.”

Confidence for August also was revised slightly, down to 53.2 from a prior reading of 53.5.

While economists recently declared that the recession ended in June 2009, the confidence data reflect ongoing weakness in the labor market, Franco said.

“Even though the recession has been officially over for quite some time, it still feels like one to consumers,” she said. “We have yet to see strong job growth, and that is the dark cloud hanging over consumers.”

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