NEW YORK – U.S. consumer confidence fell in February, snapping two months of gains, as persistent weakness in the labor markets weighed on Americans' assessment of the economy.
The Conference Board, a New York-based private research group, said on Tuesday its closely watched index of consumer confidence fell to 94.1, the lowest level since November and below analysts' forecasts of a dip to 96.8. But the group revised its January reading upward to 97.8 and said the February drop may not dent the robust pace of consumer spending.
"While confidence has weakened from January's level, both components of the Index still point to healthy consumer spending in the months ahead," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "The consumer will continue to provide solid spending support as the economy moves into recovery."
The Present Situation Index, which measures Americans' views of the economy right now, fell to 94.8 in February from 98.1. The Expectations Index, a gauge of consumers' six-month outlook, fell to 93.6 in February from 97.6 in January.
Americans still view the current job situation as weak, the Conference Board said, with 22.8 percent saying jobs are "hard to get," up from 22.5 percent in January. Those reporting jobs were plentiful fell to 17.8 percent from 18.4 percent.