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Consumers lose confidence for third straight month

NEW YORK — Consumer confidence tumbled for a third straight month during October, and further than expected, as Americans continued to fret about employment issues and grow increasingly concerned about the economic outlook.

The bellwether gauge slipped 4 percent, to its lowest level since March, sliding to a level of 92.8 from 96.7 in September. Tripped up by gnawing concerns about the jobs outlook and a growing apprehension about what awaits the economy six months out, the widely watched number came in lower than the 94 reading economists had been looking for.

Confidence levels are now down 12.1 percent from their 13-month high of 105.7 reached in June, and are at their lowest level since a reading of 88.5 in March.

"Subdued expectations, as opposed to eroding present-day conditions, were the major cause behind October's decline in consumer confidence," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center . "And while consumers' assessment of the labor market showed a moderate improvement, the gain was not sufficient to ease concerns about job growth in the months ahead."

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