Consumer confidence across America, which has now declined for four consecutive months, has been weakest in the New England region over the last year, according to an analysis released by The Conference Board. This region includes Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The Conference Board’s widely watched Consumer Confidence Index for New England is now 77.9 (November), down from 87.7 the previous month. It was 104.2 a year ago.

“Since foreign trade is a major issue in New England, fears about job losses in key industries have made a dent in consumer confidence,” Conference Board Economist Ken Goldstein said. “Throughout this region, higher oil prices have had a widespread impact on consumers and high hopes for more jobs have been jolted. The only surprise in this region is that confidence hasn’t declined more than it has. The big question now is whether New England consumers will pull back, or step forward, during this holiday spending season.”

Consumer confidence is also weak in the Middle Atlantic region, which includes New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Consumer confidence declined to 66.9 in November, down from 78.9 the previous month in this region. It was 80.5 a year ago.

Consumer confidence has scored its largest gains over the last year in the West North Central region, which includes Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. In this region, confidence is up nearly five points from last month, and more than 10 points from a year ago.

The Conference Board is as nonprofit research and business group.

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