The monthly Consumer Confidence Index, which uses 1985 as a base year with an assigned value of 100, fell from 54.3 in November to 52.5 in December after two months of increases.
In December, the monthly survey of 5,000 households found the number of respondents indicating economic conditions were "good" fell slightly from 8.5 percent to 7.5 percent. The number of respondents indicating conditions were "bad" fell from 42.9 percent to 41.2 percent.
Consumers were less optimistic in December about the labor market than they were a month ago. The percentage of respondents indicating jobs were "plentiful" fell from 4.3 percent to 3.9 percent, while the number indicating jobs were "hard to get" edged higher from 46.3 percent to 46.8 percent.
"Despite this month's modest decline, consumer confidence is no worse off today than it was a year ago. Consumers' assessment of the current state of the economy and labor market remains tepid and their outlook remains cautious," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center.
"Thus, all signs continue to suggest that the economic expansion will continue well into 2011, but that the pace of growth will remain moderate," she said.