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American consumers spent an average of $94 a day in August, basically flat compared to July but much higher than August 2009's $65 average, according to the most recent Gallup poll on the topic.
That, combined with new consumer confidence and household spending reports, paints a picture of the American economy as somewhat tentative, though certainly improved since the recession.
A separate Gallup poll found the U.S. Economic Confidence Index "stable" at -16. Democrats express more consumer confidence than Republicans. Higher-income Americans are more confident than lower-income people who were surveyed, it said.
"Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: how Americans view current economic conditions and their perception of whether the economy is getting better or worse," the poll report says. "In August, 20 percent said the economy is 'excellent' or 'good,' while 34 percent said it is poor. This resulted in a current conditions index score of -14, the same current conditions score found for five consecutive months." The outlook score was -18.
The range throughout the year has been -14 to -17. "The three-point range in monthly economic confidence this year does not appear to be the norm, given the wide month-to-month variations in previous years. In 2013, for example, the index rose to as high as -7 in May before falling to -35 in October — down 16 points from the previous month — during the partial government shutdown," Rebecca Riffkin wrote in the Gallup confidence report.
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