You are here

US consumer confidence falls in February

[WASHINGTON] US consumer confidence slumped in February, with Americans showing greater apprehension about the state of the US economy amid high market turbulence, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

The board's consumer confidence index fell to 92.2 from 97.8 in January, with assessments of both the present situation and the expected situation in six months both declining.

While well over half of survey respondents viewed current business conditions as "normal", there was a rise in those who said they are "bad", and a slight increase in those who feel jobs are not plentiful.

Looking out six months, 73.4 per cent of respondents see business conditions staying the same as now, but there was an modest increase in those who felt things would worsen, to 12.0 per cent. Expectations that the jobs market would deteriorate also rose.

In keeping with those views, the number of people saying they expected to buy homes and major appliances or spend on vacations over the medium term fell. But there was a slight increase in the number of those who said they plan to buy a car or truck.

"Consumers' short-term outlook grew more pessimistic, with consumers expressing greater apprehension about business conditions, their personal financial situation, and to a lesser degree, labour market prospects," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

"Continued turmoil in the financial markets may be rattling consumers, but their assessment of current conditions suggests the economy will continue to expand at a moderate pace in the near term."