Consumer Confidence Dips Slightly in Month

Associated Press

American consumers retained "a relatively high level" of confidence in the economy during February after a substantial increase in confidence during January, a business research organization said Thursday.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index fell slightly to 95.2 in February from 95.4 in January, when the index rose 10 points from December's level. The index, calculated after a monthly survey of 5,000 households nationwide, is based on the 1969-70 confidence level equaling 100.

Fabian Linden, executive director of the Conference Board's consumer research center, said: "The continuing high level of consumer confidence throughout the country, following the sharp decline in December, is reassuring."

But he noted that the survey found some "growing signs of uncertainty, especially about future employment opportunities."

People responding to the survey also seemed to be growing more concerned about their income levels, the Conference Board said.

It said that fewer than 26% of those responding to February's survey expected their incomes to rise over the next six months. That was down from about 29% in January who expected their incomes to rise.

The survey, conducted for the Conference Board by NFO Research Inc. of Toledo, Ohio, also asks consumers about their plans to buy cars.

It found that 8.8% of those surveyed said that they planned to buy a car within the next six months, virtually unchanged from 8.9% in January.

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