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U.S. consumer confidence holds at recession levels

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A report released Thursday said that consumer confidence in the U.S. was little changed for a second week, holding at a level typically reached during past recessions.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was at minus 50.3 in the period ended Dec. 4, after a reading of minus 50.2 the prior week. The gauge has been at minus 50 or worse for 11 of the past 12 weeks.

An unexpected decline in unemployment last month coupled with growing payrolls may be preventing household confidence from sinking even deeper. “Consumer confidence appears to be stabilizing, albeit near historically low levels,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg L.P. in New York. “However, that stabilization is quite tenuous.”

The Bloomberg comfort index, which began in December 1985, has averaged minus 46.8 this year compared with minus 45.7 for all of 2010 and minus 47.9 in 2009, the worst full-year reading on record, the report showed.

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