The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved slightly in July, dropped sharply in August. The Index is now at 44.5 (1985=100), down from 59.2 in July.
• The Present Situation Index decreased to 33.3 from 35.7.
• The Expectations Index decreased to 51.9 from 74.9 in July.
"Consumer confidence deteriorated sharply in August, as consumers grew significantly more pessimistic about the short-term outlook," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "The index is now at its lowest level in more than two years (April 2009, 40.8). A contributing factor may have been the debt ceiling discussions since the decline in confidence was well underway before the S&P downgrade. Consumers' assessment of current conditions, on the other hand, posted only a modest decline as employment conditions continue to suppress confidence."
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