NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Consumer confidence took a pause in the week ended Feb. 22, standing its ground a week after matching its steepest drop in 18 years, a survey released Tuesday showed.
The ABC News/Money magazine Consumer Comfort index, based on public views of current economic conditions, stood at -13 last week, on its scale of +100 to -100. That's unchanged from the preceding week, but a 10-point decline from five weeks ago.
In the previous week, the index fell 7 points, a single-week fall that's been matched just twice before, in January 2001 and February 1990. In each of those cases, recessions followed.
Earlier Tuesday, the Conference Board announced a separate consumer confidence index and its reading came in worse than expected as Americans took a dimmer view of the economy, mainly because of a dearth of new jobs.
The ABC/Money poll measures Americans' confidence in three areas: the national economy; their own finances; and their willingness to spend money.
Measured separately, 34 percent of Americans rated the nation's economy as excellent or good, two percentage points lower than the week ended Feb. 15. The best figure in this category was 80 percent, set on Jan. 16, 2000, while the worst levels occurred in late 1991 and early 1992.
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Opinions on the buying climate remained unchanged, with 39 percent responding that it's a good time to buy things they want or need. The best was recorded on Jan. 16, 2000 with 57 percent and the worst was 20 percent in fall 1990.
Views on personal finance inched up 2 percentage points, as 58 percent said their finances are in good or excellent shape. The best was reached on Aug. 30, 1998 and Jan., 2000 with 70 percent, while the worst was recorded on March 14, 1993 with 42 percent.
The ABC News/Money consumer index represents a rolling average based on telephone interviews with about 1,000 adults nationwide each month. The latest week's results are based on 1,000 interviews in the week ended Feb. 22, 2004, and have an error margin of plus or minus three percentage points.