Financial Condition in the US

U.S. consumers continue to feel the sting of the severe economic crisis, with more of them saying their financial condition is worse than last year, according to a leading industry survey released on Monday.

Thirty-seven percent of the 1,011 consumers surveyed said that their financial condition was worse this year than a year ago, compared to 30 percent last year, showed the 12th annual nationwide holiday spending survey of consumers conducted on Nov. 10-13 by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

In addition, this year only 19 percent of consumers reported that their condition was better compared to a year ago, as against 23 percent in the previous year.

As a result of worse financial condition, 41 percent of consumers said they were planning to spend less this year than last year, same as the number recorded a year ago. Meanwhile, only eight percent of consumers said they will spend more, compared to a slightly higher level of 10 percent last year.

However, the fresh findings are an improvement from the 2008 survey, in which 55 percent of respondents said they intended to spend less at the depth of the Great Recession.

“The good news is that spending plans are stronger than they were at the worst stage of the recession in 2008,” said CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel. “The bad news is spending plans are still considerably below where they were before the recession.”

From 2000 to 2007, the percentage of those who indicated they planned to spend less never exceeded 35 percent, and often was 30 percent or lower.

U.S. families boosted their spending in September, while their income barely increased — evidence that American households tapped more savings to cope with mounting inflationary pressure.

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