Report

Public More Optimistic About the Economy, But Still Reluctant to Spend

  • June 19, 2009

The public is increasingly optimistic that the nation's economy will improve in the next year, while a growing number also expect their personal finances to get better. But this has not caused people to open their wallets: The proportion saying they have cut back on personal spending remains as high as it was earlier this year.

Nearly half of Americans (48%) say they expect economic conditions a year from now to be better than today, up from 40% in February. Over the same period, the percentage saying they expect their personal finances to improve at least some has risen from 54% to 63%.

Despite these positive signs, there is no indication that Americans are more willing to spend money. Roughly three-quarters (76%) report they have cut back on vacation spending, been eating at restaurants less often, or have delayed purchasing a car or major home items. That figure is largely unchanged from February (79%) and last December (77%).

When changes in savings, investment and home-purchasing decisions are factored in, nearly nine-in-ten Americans (87%) say they have made at least one spending cutback or an investment or saving adjustment. This also is about the same as in February (86%) and December (85%).

Read the full report Public More Optimistic About the Economy, But Still Reluctant to Spend on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.