Consumer Confidence Slips a Bit in February

Consumer Confidence
Kiichiro Sato/AP
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER

WASHINGTON -- U.S. consumer confidence fell slightly in February on concern about the near-term outlook for business conditions and jobs.

The Conference Board said Tuesday that its confidence index slipped to 78.1 this month, down from 79.4 in January.

"Consumers believe the economy has improved, but they do not foresee it gaining considerable momentum in the months ahead," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.

Consumer sentiment is closely watched for indications about how it will impact consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.

Views about current conditions increased for the fourth consecutive month and now stand at the highest level in almost six years. But the index that tracks consumer expectations dipped slightly, pulling the overall reading down.

In the expectations category,
consumer views about the labor market was a bit more pessimistic than it has been, possibly reflecting two months of weak job gains.

Employers added a tepid 113,000 jobs in January after a lackluster gain of 75,000 in December. That was far below last year's monthly average of 194,000.

There was solid hiring in manufacturing and construction last month and that has contributed to optimism that the weaker job growth was a temporary lull and not the start of another swoon for the economy.

The Federal Reserve at its December and January meetings have trimmed its monthly bond purchases and indicated that it feels the economy is gaining momentum.

Many private analysts are forecasting that the overall economy will grow at around 3 percent this year, up a full percentage point from 2013 growth. The federal government is expected to be less of a drag on activity this year. Tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts trimmed growth by an estimated 1.75 percentage points in 2013.

As the drag from the government lessens, the expectation is that economic growth and job creation will pick up, giving a boost to confidence and consumer spending, which will help drive even faster growth.

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betty_brock

Watch for the crash. Dems will blame Bush.
Obama wants to run the country by himself but not take any responsibility. He can't have it both ways.

February 25 2014 at 2:25 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
jdykbpl45

It is Obama's lousy economy and loss of employment due to his policies.

February 25 2014 at 11:10 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jdykbpl45's comment
republicanslostagain

Loss of employment ? Bush still holds the record for outsourcing over 3 million jobs.

Bush's economy was so great he forgot to show up at the 2012 RNC to boast about it..lmao !!!!!!!

February 25 2014 at 12:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to republicanslostagain's comment
betty_brock

Evan and all his screen names are dopes.

February 25 2014 at 2:26 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down