Industry News

Gas prices, jobs take their toll on consumers

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Rising energy prices and concerns about the sluggish pace of job growth caused consumer confidence to fall further in October, according to the latest University of Michigan Survey of Consumers. "The overall decline in confidence was small as consumers concluded by the end of October that the surge in gas prices was nearly over and their apprehensions about future job growth lessened," according to Richard Curtin, the director of the University of Michigan's Surveys of Consumers. Consumers do not believe that the past levels of jobs or gas prices will be regained in the near future. "Few consumers expect significant declines in energy prices anytime soon, and few consumers anticipate the return of robust job growth during the year ahead," Curtin said. The current middling level of consumer confidence is strong enough to support growth of 3 ¼ percent in real consumption spending during 2005. The index of consumer sentiment was 91.7 in the October survey, between the 94.2 recorde...