Consumer confidence plunged to two-year lows in August, stoking predictions and outright declarations that the economy has slipped into recession.

The Conference Board announced Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index fell a steep 14.7 points to a low not seen since April 2009, when the United States was still officially in recession. The Conference Board’s Lynn Franco says a factor contributing to the sharp fall-off “may have been the debt ceiling discussions since the decline in confidence was well underway before the S&P downgrade.” She added that “employment conditions continue to suppress confidence.”

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