The consumer confidence index plunged in February, falling to an all-time low of 25.0 from a downwardly revised 37.4 last month, the Conference Board reported yesterday.

The January index was first reported as 37.7. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted a drop to 35.5.

The present situation index fell to 21.2 from a downwardly revised 29.7, originally reported as 29.9, while the expectations index sank to 27.5 from a downwardly revised 42.5 last month, originally reported as 43.0.

“The consumer confidence index, which was relatively flat in January, reached yet another all-time low in February,” said Lynn Franco, director of board’s consumer research center, noting that the index had begun in 1967. “The decline in the present situation index, driven by worsening business conditions and a rapidly deteriorating job market, suggests that overall economic conditions have weakened even further this quarter.”

“Looking ahead, increasing concerns about business conditions, employment and earnings have further sapped confidence and driven expectations to their lowest level ever,” Franco said. “In addition, inflation expectations, which had been easing over the past several months, have moderately picked up. All in all, not only do consumers feel overall economic conditions have grown more dire, but just as disconcerting, they anticipate no improvement in conditions over the next six months.”

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