Americans continue to feel even more pessimistic about the economy, according to The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, which was released this morning. The index registered 50.4 in June, a decline of 7.7 percentage points from May.

It represents the fifth-lowest reading ever for the index, which began in 1985.

"Consumers' assessment of present-day conditions continues to grow more negative and suggests the economy remains stuck in low gear," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Looking ahead, consumers' economic outlook is so bleak that the Expectations Index has reached a new all-time low. Perhaps the silver lining to this otherwise dismal report is that consumer confidence may be nearing a bottom."

As Franco noted, The Conference Board consumer confidence numbers also measure Americans' future expectations; that figure slipped 6.3 percentage points to 41.0 in June.

For more information on the Consumer Confidence Index, visit

Alison Rice is senior editor, online, at BUILDER magazine.