The Conference Board's consumer confidence index, which had improved last month, weakened significantly in February. The index now stands at 87.3 (1985=100), down from 96.4 in January. The expectations index fell to 96.8 from 107.8. The present situation index declined to 73.1 from 79.4. "Consumers began the year on a high note, but their optimism has quickly given way to caution," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "Consumers remain disheartened with current economic conditions, and at the core of their disenchantment is the labor market. While the current expansion has generated jobs over the past several months, the pace of creation remains too tepid to generate a sustainable turnaround in consumers' confidence. And, with consumers anticipating economic conditions to remain about the same in the months ahead, their short-term outlook turned less optimistic." Consumers' assessment of current conditions was less positive in February th...
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