Americans' already-battered confidence in the economy went into freefall this month, reaching new lows as consumers grow more fearful over huge job cuts and shrinking retirement accounts. New York's Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index, which was down slightly in January, plummeted more than 12 points in February to 25, from the revised 37.4 last month.
That was well below the 35.5 level that economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected. The index, which had hovered in the high 30s over the past few months, broke new lows since it began in 1967. A year ago, the consumer confidence reading stood at 76.4. “Concerns about business conditions, employment, and earnings have further sapped confidence and driven expectations to their lowest level ever," said a Conference Board director. (Read more consumer confidence stories.)