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US consumer confidence drops to 96.1 as virus spreads

U.S. consumer confidence fell to a reading of 96.1 in November as rising coronavirus cases pushed American optimism down to the lowest level since August.

The November reading released Tuesday by the the Conference Board said represents a drop from a revised 101.4 in October. The decline reflected a big drop in consumer expectations for income, business and labor market conditions.

The consumer confidence index is set on a scale with 100 equaling the confidence level in 1985.

In the leadup to the pandemic with the country enjoying unemployment at a half-century low of 3.9%, the confidence index had risen above 130. It stood at 132.6 in February but plunged to 85.7 in April as millions of Americans lost their jobs after the country went into lockdown to try to halt the spread of the pandemic.

The index has bounced around since its big April decline but remains well below the levels

reached before the pandemic hit.