Consumer confidence ticks lower

March 26, 2013 at 12:49 PM

NEW YORK, March 26 (UPI) -- U.S. consumer confidence slipped in March after rising in February, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

The index has now dropped in four of the past five months. In March, the index fell sharply, falling from 68 to 59.7.

The index is a comparison from 1985, which was assigned the value of 100.

Economists had expected the confidence index to hold at 68.

In March, 16 percent of respondents to a survey that involves more than 5,000 households indicated they believed business conditions were "good," down from 17.6 percent in February.

Responses indicating a belief that business conditions were "bad" rose from 28.2 in February to 29.3 in March.

The percentage of respondents indicating jobs were "plentiful," fell from 10.1 percent to 9.4 percent, while those indicating jobs were difficult to get fell from 36.9 percent to 36.2.

Conference Board Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco said the austerity budget in Washington has had its impact on consumer confidence.

"The recent sequester has created uncertainty regarding the economic outlook and as a result, consumers are less confident." Franco said.

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