The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor, a daily poll of 8,200 consumers tracking their confidence in the economy and spending intentions, recorded its largest one-month decline in June, falling 4.4 points from 89.5 to 85.1—indicating that the majority of Americans believe the economy and their own personal finances are worsening.
In the past few months, however, the index has remained fairly steady, despite rising gas prices, Discover said. But in June, 60% of adults rated the U.S. economy as poor, up nearly four percentage points from May. In addition, 56% said the economy is getting worse, up nearly five percentage points from the month before.
And 51% said their personal finances are worsening, up slightly from 48% in May. This was the first month since July 2009 that more than half of the respondents said their personal finances are worsening.
This dour outlook was despite the fact that the number of people who expect to pay more for household items, such as gas and food, fell 10 percentage points, from 53% in May to 43% in June.
“The recent dip in gas prices did not appear to have any impact on consumers’ view toward their personal finances,” said Julie Loeger, senior vice president of brand and product management at Discover. “In the absence of good economic news, such as on the jobs front or with housing prices, more Americans are growing pessimistic about their long-term financial outlook and the outlook for America’s economy generally.”
In addition, slightly more people in June, 18.2%, up from 17.2% in May, said they plan to spend on household improvements. This is the highest figure for this category since May 2008. However, discretionary spending on dining, entertainment and vacations was flat from the month earlier.