Consumer confidence plunges in May

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans' confidence in the economy in May had its biggest drop in eight months as consumers fretted about slow hiring, a big stock market drop and the global economy, says a private research group.

The Conference Board says its Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 64.9, down from a revised 68.7 in April. It was the biggest drop since October 2011.

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.

But the latest reading is expected to be well above the 40 figure reached last October and the all-time low of 25.3 in February 2009.

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