NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Consumers felt more miserable about the U.S. economy in October than they did in September. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index edged down to 39.8, its lowest level since march 2009. Economists had predicted a rise to 46, after the index came in at a revised 46.4 in September. "Consumer confidence is now back to levels last seen during the 2008-2009 recession," noted Lynn Franco, director with the Conference Board. "Consumer expectations, which had improved in September, gave back all of the gain and then some, as concerns about business conditions, the labor market and income prospects increased." The index declined despite a recent rise in stock values in October. The latest figure is based on responses from 5,000 households polled from the beginning of October to Oct. 13. The reading remains far from 90, which is considered a level that indicates the economy is on firm footing. "What is particularly worrisome is that confidence among the upper income bracket declined in the sixth consecutive month and eighth in the last ten months," notes Dan Greenhaus, strategist with BTIG. "We say this is particularly important because the upper income brackets are a crucial component in terms of driving spending and growth and as their confidence wanes, spending very well may follow." The depressed numbers in recent months suggest that anxieties in the jobs market and an uncertain political and economic outlook weigh heavily on overall sentiment. Despite depressed confidence, however, analysts hope for improvement in retails sales, which tend to show particular strength during the holiday season. -- Written by Chao Deng in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Chao Deng. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to:
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