Consumer confidence hits new low

Consumer confidence in January fell to its lowest point since November 2011, according to the Conference Board.

The Conference Board’s index decreased to 58.6, down from a revised 66.7 in December. The figure was lower than forecast; Bloomberg predicted a median of 64.

The drop in confidence coincides with the 2% payroll tax increase used to fund Social Security.

“The thing that’s particularly troubling is the sizable decline in expectations,” Guy Lebas, chief fixed-income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC told Bloomberg. “As those expectations deteriorate, it doesn’t bode particularly well for day-to-day consumer spending.”

The 8.1-point slump from December to January is the biggest since August 2011, and parallels other measures of consumer confidence. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped in the week ended Jan. 20 to the lowest level since early October and the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment dropped in January to its lowest point since December 2011.