Consumer sentiment low despite improving employment picture

While the unemployment rate improved in the month of October, a new survey indicates consumers' economic sentiment continues to dwindle.

Consumer Reports Sentiment Index, which measures consumers' financial health, fell to 45 in November from 47.6 in October and 48.8 in September.

Ed Farrell, director of the Consumer Reports National Research Center, said consumers' outlook about the state of the economy and their personal financial situation remains negative, particularly among individuals with a high income.

"Sentiment among wealthier Americans has plunged, while those earning less than $50,000 languish in negative territory, a bad convergence of events for spending," said Farrell.

He added that because consumer sentiment is one of caution, consumers may purchase less than they would normally this holiday season, a time in which buying activity typically increases.

Before consumers begin shopping this season, they may want to have a credit consultation or apply for a free credit report. This may help them assess their credit scores and learn what they can do to improve them.