Feb 23, 2010 10:59 AM by Associated Press

Consumer confidence falls sharply

A monthly poll shows consumers' confidence took a surprisingly sharp fall in February amid rising job worries. The decline ends three straight months of improvement and raises concerns about the economic recovery.

The Conference Board says its Consumer Confidence Index fell almost 11 points to 46 in February, down from a revised 56.5 in January. Analysts were expecting only a slight decrease to 55.

One gauge measuring consumers' assessment of current conditions, dropped further to 19.4 from 25.2. The other barometer, which measures their outlook over the next six months and had been rising, fell to 63.8 from 77.3.

Economists watch the numbers closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.


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