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Despite some positive economic news in recent days, most Americans remain deeply concerned about the state of the U.S. economy. The StrategyOne Annual Holiday Shopping Index found that 79 percent believe the U.S. remains in a recession; only 10 percent rate the economy as excellent or good; and just eight percent think the economy will be much better by next year. The public opinion poll of 1,072 Americans was conducted by strategic polling firm StrategyOne, a Daniel J. Edelman company.
This pessimism is influencing consumers' holiday shopping, with 39 percent concerned enough about the economy that they are planning to spend less during the holidays than they did last year. Another 52 percent said they were uncertain about the future and planned to keep their spending in line with last year's holiday spending. Beyond that, 36 percent thought spending a lot of money on gifts was in bad taste this year with so many people still out of work.
The cynicism emerging from the survey data stands in stark contrast to reports which seem to suggest an improvement in the nation's economic fortunes - including that the consumer confidence index has risen to its highest level since June, that consumer spending is up for the fourth consecutive month, and that new data shows unemployment benefits have fallen to levels not seen since 2008.
"Consumers are saying 'not so fast' on calling a recovery," said Bradley Honan, senior vice president of StrategyOne. "Even though there has been some good news about the economy, consumers are still unsettled about the future."
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