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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Consumer Confidence Lowest Ever

Consumer confidence in the U.S. economy hit an all-time low in October, according to the Conference Board's closely watched index, which was released moments ago.

Consumer confidence is key to the economy, as spending accounts for 70 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, the highest among industrialized nations.

The board began tracking consumer confidence in 1967, which hit its all-time high in 1985, following the first term of President Reagan and his supply-side policies, which sent stocks soaring. The board set the index's high point -- 100 -- in 1985.

According to the most recent data, the index plummeted 23.4 points from September of this year to October and now stands at 38, as the economy continues in crisis and businesses begin contracting in response by cutting costs and laying off workers.

One year ago, weeks after the Dow hit its all-time high of 14,164 (at the moment, the Dow is trading at about 8,300), the index stood at 95.2.

-- Frank Ahrens

By Frank Ahrens  |  October 28, 2008; 10:45 AM ET
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