A private research group says that consumers' confidence in the U.S. economy in August dropped almost 15 points to its lowest level since April 2009 as worries about the economy fueled the wildest stock market swings since the financial meltdown in 2008.
The Conference Board says Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index dropped to 44.5, down from a revised 59.2 in July. It was the lowest level since April 2009 when the reading was 40.8. The level was far below the 53.3 that analysts had expected.
A reading above 90 indicates the economy is on solid footing; above 100 signals strong growth. Economists watch the numbers closely because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.