CONSUMER CONFIDENCE SLIPS

NEW YORK -- The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, based on a monthly survey of 5,000 households, revealed last week that consumer attitudes toward the U.S. economy and labor market conditions became pessimistic in September, sending the reading down a worse-than-expected 4.9 points to 76.8.The poor showing last month was down from an upwardly revised 81.7 in August, and erased that month's

NEW YORK -- The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, based on a monthly survey of 5,000 households, revealed last week that consumer attitudes toward the U.S. economy and labor market conditions became pessimistic in September, sending the reading down a worse-than-expected 4.9 points to 76.8.

The poor showing last month was down from an upwardly revised 81.7 in August, and erased that month's 4.7 point gain.

"The lack of improvement in labor market conditions continues to dampen consumers' spirits," Lynn Franco, director of the board's Consumer Research Center, said.

Despite the September retreat, Franco said, consumers remain cautiously optimistic and don't plan drastic changes in their spending habits. "As long as expectations continue to point to an improvement in economic conditions, consumers are optimistic," said Franco.