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Jobs Slowdown Shakes Consumer Confidence

By John S. McClenahen The slow pace of job creation in the U.S. shook consumer confidence in August, resulting in a dramatic drop in the New York-based Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index. The business research group's index, which had been on the rise since April, fell 7.5 points last month to 98.2 (1985=100) from 105.7 in July. "The level of consumer optimism has fallen off and caution has returned. Until the job market and the pace of hiring [pick] up, this cautious attitude will prevail," predicts Lynn Franco, director the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. The jobs-related greater-than-expected drop in consumer confidence last month will result in even more attention being paid to this Friday's U.S. employment report from the Labor Department, specifically to the number of jobs created in August and the sectors of the economy that produced them.

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