Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Our Uncertain Economy

Prosper Research's monthly tracking of consumer attitudes has it's up's and down's this month:

  • Those very confident or confident in chances for a strong economy wobble in May, decreasing slightly to 39 percent. With the up / down action we’ve been seeing with confidence this year, it’s evident that consumers are struggling with feelings of uncertainty regarding the economy.
  • Eight out of ten consumers feels that there will be “more” or the “same” number of pink slips handed out over the next six months, increasing slightly over a year ago. So even as the official US unemployment rate continues to decline, consumers seem unable to quell their concerns.
  • Consumers are feeling uncertain about employment because their guts are telling them what the numbers are telling us – the unemployment rate is down because the opportunities are slim and an increasing number of capable, working age adults are being labeled “discouraged” – and are lost from the labor force as a result.
  • It appears that, at least in recent months, consumers have become a bit more comfortable in their ability to meet monthly spending demands, with a decreasing number of consumers saying that there’s too much month at the end of their paychecks “all” or “most of the time.”
  • However, more than a quarter of adults 18+ reported that they are feeling “worse off” financially compared to a year ago.
  • And, while consumers may feel that they are getting better at handling their month to month expenditures, it appears they may be doing so at the expense of their savings, with the US personal saving rate currently remaining at lows not seen since just before the Great Recession.
  • New discoveries from our Analytics Unit provide support that happiness increases with age. Members of the Silent generation rank as the happiest in America followed by Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials.

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