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NEW YORK – The Consumer Confidence Index dropped to 79.4 in October, the lowest level it’s reached since November 1993, according to The Conference Board’s monthly survey. Consumer confidence has been steadily dropping for four consecutive months. In September it was 93.7. According to The Conference Board survey, respondents rating current business conditions as “bad” increased to 27.6% from 23.8% in September. Those rating current conditions as “good” decreased to 15.6% from 18.5%. In addition, consumers reporting jobs are hard to get rose to 27.3% from 25.4% in September, while those claiming jobs were abundant dropped to 14.8% from 15.9% in September. Consumers’ expectations for the next six months also fell in October’s survey. The percent of respondents expecting a further deterioration in business conditions in the next six months rose to 14.1% from 9.7%, while those expecting conditions to improve fell to 19% from 21.6% The percent of consumers expecting more jobs to become available dropped to 15% from 17.3%, while those expecting fewer jobs rose to 22.1% from 16.8%. The Conference Board Director Lynn Franco said a weak labor market, the threat of military action in Iraq and a prolonged decline in the financial markets have dampened consumers’ confidence and their expectations for the near future.

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