U.S. consumer confidence plunged in January to its lowest level in more than a year, reflecting higher Social Security taxes that have left Americans with less take-home pay.
The Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index dropped 8.1 points in January from December to a reading of 58.6, the lowest since November 2011.
The index has declined for three straight months since hitting a nearly five-year high of 73.1 in October. It's still above the post-recession low of 40.9 reached in October 2011.
Conference Board economist Lynn Franco said the tax increase was the key reason confidence tumbled in January, making Americans less optimistic about the next six months.