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Consumer Confidence Drops; All Of 2012's Gains Gone

Though there have been other signs to indicate that the economy is on the upswing, many Americans aren't feeling all that good about how things are going.

The private Conference Board reports that its widely watched consumer confidence index fell to 58.6 in January from 66.7 in December. The index is now the lowest it's been since November 2011.

Conference Board economist Lynn Franco says in a statement that "consumers are more pessimistic about the economic outlook and, in particular, their financial situation. The increase in the payroll tax has undoubtedly dampened consumers' spirits and it may take a while for confidence to rebound and consumers to recover from their initial paycheck shock."

Since consumers buy about 70 percent of all the goods and services that businesses produce, they are critical to the economy's health.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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