U.S. Consumer Confidence Ticks Down In December

By Agence France-Presse U.S. consumer confidence ticked down a notch in December after rising to its highest level in over a year in November as workers fretted about their job security, a survey showed Dec. 30. A consumer confidence index, compiled by the Conference Board from a survey of 5,000 households, fell by 1.2 points to 91.3 in December from a revised 92.5 in November. Wall Street analysts had forecast a decline in the index. "The improvement in consumers' expectations signals healthy economic growth in 2004," said Conference Board consumer research center director Lynn Franco. "But job worries continue." The two components of the index revealed split expectations -- people's feeling about the present situation declined while their expectations for the future rose. The present situation index dropped 7.1 points to 73.9 while the expectations index climbed 2.8 points to 100.1. "Consumers' lackluster assessment of current conditions reflects continuing anxiety about labor market conditions," Franco said. "While consumers expect the job situation to improve in the months ahead, until a significant turnaround takes place, consumers' optimism about current-day conditions will continue to lag behind their expectations." Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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