OTTAWA - The Conference Board of Canada says consumer confidence has hit its lowest level in more than two and a half years.
The think tank says its Index of Consumer Confidence posted a 6.5-point drop in December, bringing 2011 to a disappointing close.
At 69.9, the index is down 11.1 points from where it was at the end of 2010.
It's also at its lowest point since the middle of the 2008-2009 recession.
The board uses a 2002 base of 100 in compiling the index, which reflects how Canadians feel about the economy, job creation, future major purchases and their personal finances.
The board says opinion eroded on all four questions, but responses to the major purchases question were particularly gloomy.
Confidence was down across the country, with the biggest drop in Atlantic Canada, wiping out a recent gain after the Halifax Shipyard won a $25-billion shipbuilding contract earlier this fall.
British Columbia registered a third consecutive monthly decline, and confidence also dropped in Ontario and Quebec, the heart of Canada's manufacturing sector.
The prairie provinces recorded only a small drop and confidence in the resource-rich region remains the highest in the country.
The weaker confidence levels suggest consumers will tighten their wallets and money will remain tight in 2012 until the economic picture brightens.