An increasing number of consumers were optimistic about the economy and their personal finances in February, according to the latest Discover U.S. Spending Monitor. But even though confidence is up, less than a fifth of participants said the economy was good or excellent and nearly half expected it to get worse.
When asked about the U.S. economy, 19% of respondents said it was good or excellent, an increase of 4% over January. The biggest increase in optimism was among 18 to 39-year-olds, who had a 9% jump in positive responses.
Young people are more optimistic
The breakdown of optimism by age:
- 22% of 18 to 39-year-olds thought the economy was good or excellent
- 16% of respondents ages 40 to 64 felt it was good or excellent
- 18% of people 65 and over said it was good or excellent
Asked whether the economy was likely to improve, 32% of respondents said they thought it would – an uptick of only 1% over January’s results. Seventeen percent of those surveyed thought the economy would stay the same, and 47% believed it would get worse, a slight improvement over the 49% that expected the same in January’s poll.
When it came to personal finances, 37% of respondents said they would rate their situation as good or excellent – an increase of 2%. There was also an increase in the percentage of people who anticipated their financial situation would get better – from 23% in January to 25% in February. Yet 47% of people polled felt their financial situation was likely to get worse – a difference of 1% from January when 48% predicted worsening finances.
The percentage of people who say they will have money left over after paying monthly expenses was 47%, and among those, 66% said they would have the same amount left over as they did the previous month. The number of respondents who planned to save the same amount of money in February as in January held nearly steady at 48%, and increase of just 1%.
Spending is Steady
The amount of spending was the same from January to February, with 52% of people planning to spend about the same amount next month as last month. Only 18% of people said they would be spending less next month.
When it came to how that money would be spent, 41% of all respondents said they would spend the same on discretionary personal purchases, and 35% said they would spend the same on household improvements. Only 11% of people polled planned to spend more in the coming month on major personal purchases – a 2% decline from January; 37% said they would spend the same on major personal purchases.
About the Spending Monitor
The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor has been asking adults about their opinions on the economy, personal finance and spending since May 2007. Rasmussen Reports conducts the survey, randomly sampling 275 adults per night for a total of 8,200 responses per month.