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Consumer Confidence Down in March

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Consumer Confidence Down in March

People are not feeling very good about either the U.S. economy or their own finances, according to the latest Discover U.S. Spending Monitor consumer confidence declined by half a point in March, driven by consumers aged 18-39 and people making less than $75,000 a year.

In spite of that bleak economic outlook, folks plan to increase their spending this spring, on both major and discretionary purchases. People with plans to shell out for major personal purchases increased two points to 13%. Consumers who planned to increase discretionary spending – otherwise known as optional purchases – was up three points to 11%.

The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor polls 500 consumers each day and gets 8,200 responseseach month. Discover tracks consumer confidence and spending intentions on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Statistics for March are broken down by economic outlook, personal finances, and spending intentions.

Economic Outlook

  • 34% of those polled rated the economy as fair. Only 18% of respondents rated the economy good or excellent. Among people ages 18-39, there was a five-point drop in the percentage rating the economy as good or excellent.
  • In February, people ages 18-39 had a big jump in positive feelings about the economy, with 22% of them rating it good or excellent. March saw that number drop by five points, to 17%.
  • The number of respondents ages 40-64 who rated the economy good or excellent in March increased just slightly from February, going from 16% to 17%. People ages 65 and older also felt slightly more optimistic, with 19% rating the economy good or excellent in March, after 18% of them giving that answer in February.
  • Overall, 50% of respondents expect the U.S. economy to get worse – and increase from 48% in February.

Personal Finances

  • 35% of respondents said their personal financial situation was good or excellent – a two-point decrease from February.
  • 24% of those polled said their finances are improving – a one-point decline from February.
  • People who make between $40,000 and $75,000 per year feel less optimistic than those who make more than $75,000 per year. Only 28% of people making $40,000-$75,000 annually feel their finances are improving, compared with 45% of those making over $75,000 a year. Among people who make less than $40,000 per year, 17% feel their financial situation is improving.

Spending Intentions

  • The number of people who said they are spending more this month than last increased two points to 39%.
  • Increased spending was slated to go towards household improvements (17%), major personal purchases (13%) and discretionary personal expenses (11%).
  • More people planned to save and invest their money in March. Intentions to save and investing increased two points to 11% last month.

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