The consumer confidence index slumped to 46.0 in February from an upwardly revised 56.5 in January, the Conference Board reported yesterday.

The January index was originally reported as 55.9.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted a 55.0 reading.

The present situation index dropped to 19.4 from an upwardly revised 25.2, originally reported as 25.0, while the expectations index decreased to 63.8 from an upwardly revised 77.3 in January, originally reported as 76.5.

“Consumer confidence, which had been improving over the past few months, declined sharply in February,” said Lynn Franco, director of the board’s consumer research center.

“Concerns about current business conditions and the job market pushed the present situation index down to its lowest level in 27 years [17.5 in February 1983],” she said. “Consumers’ short-term outlook also took a turn for the worse, with fewer consumers anticipating an improvement in business conditions and the job market over the next six months. Consumers also remain extremely pessimistic about their income prospects. This combination of earnings and job anxieties is likely to continue to curb spending.”

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