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Consumers hedge on confidence

New York – Raising some questions about December holiday spending, consumer confidence fell for a second straight month in November as Americans continued to fret about a softer jobs market and an uncertain short-term outlook for the broad economy.

The widely watched bellwether of consumer sentiment and future spending slipped by 2.1% during November, backing off to a reading of 102.9, down from 105.1 in October, The Conference Board reported.

Even with the most recent slide, the confidence level is still roughly at the mid-point of its 13-month range and is 4.7% above a low point of 98.3 in November 2005.

“A tighter labor market and a more guarded short-term outlook have combined to curb consumers' confidence in November,” said Lynn Franco, director of the business think tank's Consumer Research Center . “Despite this retreat in confidence, the overall level of confidence remains favorable and continues to suggest that the economy will expand throughout the first half of next year.”

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