With retail sales figures — a key gauge of consumer spending — and consumer sentiment bouncing all over the charts and prompting fears that the economic recovery is not as strong as numbers from earlier in the year seemed to indicate, a good question for analysis is how optimistically do Americans view their personal finances.
According to the Chase Blueprint Pulse of the Consumer Survey — which was released Wednesday alongside a press release promoting JPMorgan Chase’s (NYSE:JPM) Resource Center for Mindful Spending — three in four of all consumers in the United States are confident about their personal finances, representing an increase of 11 percent from last year. Alongside this increase in confidence, 39 percent of all consumers are now spending as much as they were before the 2007 – 2009 recession.
Breaking down this information further, the survey — which took a comprehensive look at Americans’ financial habits and attitudes — noted that 6 out of 10 respondents believe that the national economy has bottomed out and will continue to be stable or improve in the coming months. Additionally, an even higher percentage expressed optimism about their local economy. With this mindset, consumers begun spending more in 2013; compared with last year, they have spent 33 percent more on dining out, 20 percent more on vacations, and 17 percent more on clothing.
But more money is being saved as well; approximately 45 percent of respondents said they are putting funds into savings accounts, an increase of 9 percent from 2012…