WASHINGTON (2/25/15)--Consumer confidence took a step back in February, as the Conference Board Consumer Confidence index slipped by 7.4 points during the month to a reading of 96.4 (
The stumble knocked the index well below the 103.8 recorded in January, a seven-year high, according to Moody's.
"More pessimism over the future fueled the majority of the decline, which was more than forecast, but weaker assessments of current conditions also contributed," said Nate Kelley, Moody's analyst (
). "Still, the index has been choppy over the past six months or so, and the three-month moving average is 97.8, the highest since July 2007."
The present situation subindex dropped by 3.7 points to 110.2 in February, and the future conditions subcomponent fell by nearly 10 points to 87.2.
Fewer shoppers said business conditions were good during the month--26% after 28.2% in January--though the share that said conditions were bad also fell to 17% from 17.3%.
Further, 57% of respondents said business conditions were normal, a slight improvement over last month's reading.
Other key findings from the report:
- The share of respondents who said jobs are "hard to get" rose by 1.6% to 26.2%, while the share who believe jobs are plentiful inched down to 20.5% from 20.7%;
- The share of those who believe business conditions will remain unchanged over the next six months climbed to 75.2% from 72.9%, the highest number since July 2007, while the share who believe conditions will improve fell to 16.1% from 18.9%, the smallest number since October 2013; and
- Plans to buy a home were largely unchanged from January to February, with those planning to buy a home rising to 5.6% from 5.4% for the month. Those who plan to buy a car, however, fell to 11% from 13.1%.