The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index fell to 120.2 in January, down from 126.6 in December and the lowest level since July 2017.
U.S. consumer confidence fell to its lowest reading in a year and a half, due partially to the government shutdown and volatile financial markets. The index measures consumers’ assessment of current economic conditions and their expectations for the next six months. Both declined in January. Consumers’ expectations for the future dropped to the lowest point since October 2016. However, economic growth was 3.4 percent annual pace from July through September, after having surged 4.2 percent in the second quarter, and the unemployment rate of 3.9 percent was near its lowest level in five decades.