The future is looking like a mixed bag. Consumer optimism about the economic future has rebounded seven points since August, with 48% of Americans expecting local business conditions to improve over the next 12 months. However, just 26% of consumers believe the economic downturn has reached its bottom while 69% of Americans believe we have not yet hit bottom. Meanwhile, 59% of consumers believe America can regain its status as a global economic leader and 20% believe America has permanently lost its place as an economic leader. On the other hand, according to Citibank research, 22% of Americans rate their local economy as good while 77% rate their local business conditions as either only fair or poor, nearly identical to levels in January and August.
Additionally, 19% are coming up short on monthly income, 39% are just getting by and 40% are making enough to save, while 63% say it is very or extremely important that the United States be the world’s economic leader, although just 16% currently view it as such, 59% believe America has lost this status but can regain it in the future and 69% believe it is very or extremely important to be the world leader in technology and innovation. For the holidays, 47% expect to spend less on holiday gifts than last year while 45% expect to spend about the same. Just 6 percent plan to spend more.