December Consumer Confidence Sinks to All-Time Low
Dec 31, 2008
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U.S. consumer confidence sank to a record low in December and is expected to stay depressed for months as news of layoffs, store closings and other economic doom and gloom will likely continue to weigh on Americans.

The consumer confidence index fell to 38 in December, down from 44.7 in November and the lowest in the 41-year history of the closely watched gauge, said the Conference Board. A year ago, the index was at 90.6.

"Only a modest recovery is expected in the second half," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center, in a statement.

The plunge largely reflects a sharp deterioration in the job market. Forty-two percent of consumers said jobs were "hard to get" in December, up from 37.1% in November and the highest in 16 years.
A number of economists, including those at Bank of America and consulting firm RDQ Economics, said such pessimism on the job front suggests the unemployment rate may have jumped in December to at least 7%. The jobless rate was 6.7% in November and has not topped 7% since 1993.

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