The consumer confidence index slid to 61.1 in January from an upwardly revised 64.8 last month, the Conference Board reported Tuesday.
Economists had predicted a 68.0 reading. The December index was originally reported as 64.5.
The present situation index fell to 38.4 from a downwardly revised 46.5, originally reported as 46.7, while the expectations index declined to 76.2 from an upwardly revised 77.0, originally reported as 76.4.
“Consumer confidence retreated in January, after large back-to-back gains in the final two months of 2011,” said Lynn Franco, director of the board’s Consumer Research Center.
“Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions turned more downbeat and is back to November 2011 levels,” she said. “Regarding the short-term outlook, consumers are more upbeat about employment, but less optimistic about business conditions and their income prospects. Recent increases in gasoline prices may have consumers feeling a little less confident this month.”
Business conditions were called “good” by 13.3% of respondents in January, off from 16.3% in December. Those saying conditions are “bad” grew to 38.7% from 33.5%.