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Consumer Confidence Slips This Month

After two months of great gains, the confidence American consumers have in the U.S. economy retreated, The Conference Board said today.

Its consumer confidence index declined from to 38.4 from 46.5.

"Consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions turned more downbeat and is back to November 2011 levels," Lynn Franco, director of the board's research center said in a statement. "Regarding the short-term outlook, consumers are more upbeat about employment, but less optimistic about business conditions and their income prospects. Recent increases in gasoline prices may have consumers feeling a little less confident this month."

In good times that index can jump to above 100 and consumer confidence is important because they purchase 70 percent of all goods and services the economy produces.

Confidence eroded slightly both in the job market and in how consumers feel about business conditions.