by MAE ANDERSON
NEW YORK (AP) – Americans grew much gloomier about the economy in May, causing a critical measure of consumer confidence to suffer its biggest decline in eight months and ending a period of steady optimism.
Worries about jobs, housing and the stock market rattled consumers, even though gas prices are falling. The latest figures suggest Americans will need to see more encouraging economic signs before their concerns start to dissipate.
The Conference Board, a private research group, reported Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index fell to 64.9, down from a revised 68.7 in April. Analysts had expected the index to climb to 70.
The May figure, which represents the biggest drop since October, when the measure fell about 6 points, is now at its lowest level since January.
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