Consumer confidence index at all-time low
Conference Board's measure sinks amid dismal job market and credit crunch.
By Julianne Pepitone, CNNMoney.com contributing writer
Last Updated: December 30, 2008: 10:53 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A key measure of consumer confidence fell to an all-time low in December amid a dismal job market and uncertain outlook for the new year.
The Conference Board, a New York-based business research group, said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index fell to 38 in December from the downwardly revised 44.7 in November.
Economists were expecting the index to increase to 45.5, according to a Briefing.com consensus survey of economists.
"The further erosion of the Consumer Confidence Index reflects the rapid and steep deterioration of economic conditions that occurred in the fourth quarter of 2008," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, in a statement.
Wachovia senior economist Mark Vitner said that assessment is "right on the money."
"It looks like the uptick in November was a knee-jerk response to the presidential election being over," he said. The "false reading in November" bumped their expectations too high, leading to disappointment this month, Vitner added.
The gloomy news came at the end of a full year of recession. The credit crunch has strained the financial system as central banks struggle to raise capital.
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