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Consumers still in a funk

New York – According to the Conference Board today, consumers’ outlook was relatively unchanged in March, following the sharp decline measured in February that took the index to its all-time low.

The Index now stands at 26.0 (1985=100), up from 25.3 in February. In March 2008, the Consumer Confidence Index was 65.9.

Its two main constituents also remained down in the dumps. The Present Situation Index declined to 21.5 from 22.3 last month. The Expectations Index increased to 28.9 from 27.3 in February, said the Board. A year ago, these two measures stood at 90.6 and 49.4, respectively.

“The Present Situation Index suggests that the overall state of the economy remains weak and that more job losses are on the horizon,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Apprehension about the outlook for the economy, the labor market and earnings continues to weigh heavily on consumers’ attitudes. Looking ahead, consumers remain extremely pessimistic about the short-term future and do not foresee a turnaround in economic conditions over the coming six months.”

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