Consumer confidence in the US is gloomy as people face the worst job market in a quarter of a century.The fall in the Consumer Confidence Index was unexpected. Analysts had predicted the index to be unchanged or even to rise gently. Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of US economic activity, so weak spending has serious implications for the American economy. However, there was better news from the US property market. House prices have been rising slightly but outpacing forecasts – a likely consequence of temporary tax credits.