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Consumer Confidence Has Biggest Drop in Eight Months

Americans' confidence in the economy fell in May to its lowest level in eight months as consumers fretted about slow hiring, a big stock market drop and the global economy, said a private research group.

Woman shopping for clothing
UpperCut Images | Getty Images
Woman shopping for clothing

The Conference Board says its Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 64.9, down from a revised 68.7 in April. Economists were expecting a reading of 70, according to a FactSet poll of analysts.

The current level is below February's 71.6, which is the highest level it's been in a year.

Consumer confidence is widely watched because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity. The measure is significantly below the 90 reading that indicates a healthy economy. But the current level is well above the 40 it hit last October.