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Consumer Comfort Falls as U.S. Payroll Tax Bites: Economy

Consumer confidence waned last week and firings unexpectedly climbed, the first sign that higher U.S. payroll taxes will slow the economic expansion at the start of this year.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to minus 34.4 in the seven days ended Jan. 6 from minus 31.8 the prior period, the biggest one-week drop since August. Jobless claims increased by 4,000 to 371,000 in the week ended Jan. 5, according to Labor Department figures.