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Report: Economy still shaky with declining job outlook


Yonkers, N.Y. The Consumer Reports Index for September, released on Tuesday, suggested that while consumer difficulties may be declining, the economy continues to waiver, citing a worsening job picture and declining retail activity.

The September results for the Consumer Reports Employment Index marks a two-month decline, down in September to 49.1 from 50.2 in August. The share of Americans claiming to have started a new job in the past 30 days is 5%, compared with 5.9% in August, and down from July's recent high of 7.8%.

The Consumer Reports Retail Index for August continues to decline. The Past 30-Day Retail Index for September is at 9.8, down from last month's 11.4. September marks an overall decline from a year ago when the Past 30-Day Retail Index was at 11.0, and is at its lowest level since November 2009 (9.0).  

September's Next 30-Day Retail Index is at 7.6, down from 8.1 in August and 8.8 a year ago. Per capita spending in the past 30 days is down to $185, from $286 in August.

The Consumer Sentiment Index has gradually slipped over the past two months and is currently at 44.1, continuing a slide from July’s 45.2. This index has changed little since October 2008 when it stood at 45.3.

"The recovery faces serious challenges and is at risk of stalling," said Ed Farrell, a director of the Consumer Reports National Research Center. "Job creation remains the greatest challenge. The growth in the ranks of the employed remains anemic and will dampen consumer outlook moving forward. Americans have not seen any real improvement in their financial situation since the recession hit and this is reflected in our Sentiment Index, which has been in negative territory for the last two years."

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