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U.S. Consumer Confidence Pulls Back More Than Expected In November

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Reflecting a pullback in expectations, the Conference Board released a report on Tuesday showing a bigger than expected decrease in U.S. consumer confidence in the month of November.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index dropped to 135.7 in November after rising to 137.9 in October. Economists had expected the index to dip to 136.5.

The bigger than expected decrease by the consumer confidence index came after it reached its highest level since September of 2000 in the previous month.

The pullback by the headline index came as the expectations index slid to 111.0 in November from 115.1 in October, indicating a decline in consumer optimism about the short-term future.

The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months fell to 22.5 percent from 26.3 percent, while those expecting conditions to worse rose to 8.8 percent from 7.2 percent.

The outlook for the labor market was somewhat mixed, as consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead inched up to 22.8 percent from 22.3 percent but those anticipating fewer jobs also crept up to 11.1 percent from 10.6 percent.

Meanwhile, consumers' assessment of current conditions improved slightly, with the present situation index ticking up to 172.7 in November from 171.9 in October.

Job growth was the main driver of the improvement, as consumers claiming jobs are "plentiful" rose to 46.6 percent from 45.4 percent and those claiming jobs are "hard to get" slipped to 12.2 percent from 13.4 percent.

Consumers saying business conditions are "good" edged up to 41.2 percent from 41.0 percent, but those claiming conditions are "bad" also increased to 10.9 percent from 9.4 percent.

"Overall, consumers are still quite confident that economic growth will continue at a solid pace into early 2019," said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board.

She added, "However, if expectations soften further in the coming months, the pace of growth is likely to begin moderating."

Last Wednesday, the University of Michigan released a separate report showing consumer sentiment unexpectedly deteriorated by more than initially estimated in the month of November.

The report said the consumer sentiment index for November was downwardly revised to 97.5 from the preliminary reading of 98.3.

Economists had expected the consumer sentiment index to be unrevised at 98.3, which was still down slightly from 98.6 in October.

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