Consumer Confidence Slips in October on Job Market Wariness

U.S. consumer confidence slipped slightly in October, weakened by consumers' less favorable view of the job market, a survey showed Tuesday.

The Conference Board said its index of consumer sentiment edged down to 105.4 in October from an upwardly revised 105.9 in September.

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The highest reading during the past year was in April 2006 when the index read 109.8; the lowest reading during that period was in October 2005, soon after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, when the consumer confidence index read 85.2.

Economists polled by Reuters on average had forecast an October reading of 108.0.

"October's dip in confidence was prompted by consumers' mixed assessment of present-day business conditions and a less favorable view of the job market," Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a news release.

"Overall, October's readings continue to suggest a moderate pace of economic growth and more of the same for the first few months of 2007," Franco said.

Consumers' assessment of present-day conditions was less favorable in October than in September. The business research group's present situation index fell to 124.7 in October from 128.3 in September. The expectations index rose to 92.6 in October from 91.0 in September.

Consumers took a dimmer view of labor market conditions in October. Consumers who said jobs were "plentiful" declined to 25.8 percent in October from 26.2 percent in September, while those who claimed that jobs were "hard to get" rose to 22.0 percent in October from 20.9 percent in September.

Sentiment indexes have traditionally been seen as a gauge of U.S. consumer spending, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of overall economic activity.

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