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Consumer confidence declines in February

Shoppers look at merchandise at a Walmart store in Secaucus, N.J.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters
Shoppers look at merchandise at a Walmart store in Secaucus, N.J.

A key measure of attitudes on Main Street fell more than expected in February, a survey said Tuesday.

The Consumer Confidence Index hit 92.2, in February, from a revised 97.8 in January, The Conference Board said. That's lower than the 97.3 expected by analysts, and the and the lowest level since July, according to Thomson Reuters.

"Consumers' assessment of current conditions weakened, primarily due to a less favorable assessment of business conditions," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. "Consumers' short-term outlook grew more pessimistic, with consumers expressing greater apprehension about business conditions, their personal financial situation, and to a lesser degree, labor market prospects."

The trade organization's monthly survey measures consumers' short- and long-term outlook for the jobs, incomes and business conditions.

While most consumers still felt current business conditions were "good" in February, a growing share, 19.8 percent, felt that current business conditions were bad. And a larger share of consumers felt jobs were hard to get, at 24.2 percent, than plentiful, at 22.1 percent.

Over the next six months, more consumers still expect business conditions to improve, although the share shrank from from 15.9 percent to 14.6 percent, compared to 12 percent who expect conditions to worsen.