NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Consumer confidence unexpectedly fell for the first time in three months in January, after the measure shot to its highest level since April last month, the Conference Board reported Tuesday.

The Conference Board's monthly consumer confidence index sunk to a reading of 61.1 for the month to follow up last month's 9.3 point gain to 64.5 in December. Economists expected the reading to climb to 68 this month.

"Consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions turned more downbeat and is back to November 2011 levels," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's consumer research center. "Consumers are more upbeat about employment, but less optimistic about business conditions and their income prospects. Recent increases in gasoline prices may have consumers feeling a little less confident this month.

The latest figure is based on responses from 5,000 households polled from the beginning of January through the middle of the month. This remains far from 90, which is considered a level that indicates the economy is on firm footing.

Investors will look to the federal government's report on January unemployment figures Friday for signs that the economy continues to heal. After dropping to 8.5% in December, the lowest level in nearly three years, economists expect the unemployment rate to remain unchanged this month.

January's drop in confidence coincides with an increase in consumer savings announced Monday. Consumer spending stalled while savings spiked in December, the Commerce Department reported. An increase in incomes by the most in nearly a year pushed the savings rate to its highest level in four-months, the report showed.

-- Written by Kaitlyn Kiernan in New York.

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