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Consumers gain confidence

A poll published by Discover Small Business Watch at the end of August indicated that smalldiscoverpoll business owners were optimistic the economy was improving. Now, another poll also published by Discover, says consumers are increasingly confident financial woes are coming to an end.

In August, the Discover U.S. Spending Monitor rose 3.5 points to 87.0 (based on 100 points), as more consumers gained confidence in the economy and their personal affairs. In all, 31% of U.S. consumers felt economic conditions were improving—a 7 point increase from July. The rise in confidence also correlated with a 3 point increase (to 21%) in the percentage of consumers who felt their personal finances were getting better.

Although consumers believe the economy is getting better, they are not entirely ready to let go of their cash. The same poll said that for the third straight month, more than 50% plan on cutting discretionary personal spending in the month ahead. In August, 52% planned on spending less on going out to dinner, movies, or sporting events; 53% plan to cut home-improvement expenses; and 48% plan to cut major personal purchases, such as vacations, from their budgets.

For more Discover U.S. Spending Monitor survey data, charts and information, please visit www.discoverfinancial.com/surveys/spending.shtml.

The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor is a monthly index of consumer spending intentions and capacity that is based on interviews with a random sample of 8,200 U.S. adults conducted at a rate of 275 per night. In addition to spending, the survey asks consumers their opinions on the U.S. economy and their personal finances. The Monitor began in May 2007 with a base index of 100. Surveys are conducted by Rasmussen Reports, an independent survey research firm (www.rasmussenreports.com).


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