U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly dropped in October to its lowest level in two-and-a-half years as consumers fretted about job and income prospects, according to a private sector report released on Tuesday.
The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes fell to 39.8 from a upwardly revised 46.4 the month before. It was the lowest level since March 2009.
Economists had expected the index to rise to 46.0, according to a Reuters poll. September was originally reported as 45.4.
The present situation index slipped to 26.3 from 33.3, while the expectations index declined to 48.7 from 55.1. The expectations gauge was also at its lowest since March 2009.
"Consumer expectations, which had improved in September, gave back all of the gain and then some, as concerns about business conditions, the labor market and income prospects increased," Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement.
Consumers' view of the labor market was mixed. The number of respondents that said they found "jobs plentiful" fell to 3.4 percent from 5.6 percent. However, the "jobs hard to get" category eased to 47.1 percent from 49.4 percent.
The assessment of price increases was unchanged with expectations for inflation in the coming 12 months at 5.8 percent.