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The Conference Board's monthly index of US consumer confidence was down in January to "the lowest level in more than a year as higher payroll taxes took a bigger bite out of Americans’ paychecks," Bloomberg reports.

The January Consumer Confidence Index was 58.6, down from a revised 66.7 in December, and the lowest it has been since November 2011.

According to the story, "The drop in confidence coincides with a two percentage- point increase in the payroll tax used to fund Social Security, a hurdle for consumers after a projected pickup in spending in the fourth quarter. The outlook for employment prospects and incomes also deteriorated this month, today’s data showed ... The 8.1-point slump in the gauge of sentiment from a month earlier was the biggest since August 2011. Estimates of the 73 economists surveyed by Bloomberg ranged from 59 to 70. The measure averaged 53.7 in the recession that ended in June 2009."
KC's View:
It is fascinating that a time when the stock market seems to be doing great, housing seems to be doing better and unemployment numbers appear to have stabilized, that both consumer and corporate confidence remain shaky.

Hard to figure, but maybe inevitable in today's complex and confusing economic environment.