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Discover survey shows highest economic optimism since 2007

By , CardRatings contributor
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Nearly twice as many Americans call the economy "good" or "excellent" compared to a year ago, according to new research commissioned by Discover Financial Services. In a telephone survey of 8,200 adults, independent researchers from Rasmussen Reports tracked an 11 percentage point gain in the number of respondents who give their highest marks to the recovery, bringing the June 2013 total to 23 percent. Even better, the percentage of respondents who expect the economy to decline dropped to 43 percent, from last year's 45 percent figure.

Survey respondents reflected growing optimism in their plans for saving and spending money over the coming weeks, as well. While 40 percent of respondents told researchers they intended to spend more on household expenses in July, 18 percent of consumers in Rasmussen's sample shared plans to make major personal purchases over the next four weeks. Both figures represent gains from May's figures. Nearly half the respondents said they intended to save or invest at least the same amount in June as they had in May, for a gain of 2 percentage points.

Discover's survey didn't just highlight good news, however. Late Baby Boomers and early Generation X consumers revealed the economy's biggest signs of economic weakness. Although respondents younger than 39 and older than 65 reported improvements in their personal finances, the percentage of respondents aged 40-64 that classified their financial situation as "good or excellent" dropped 2 percentage points, to just 34 percent.

The credit card issuer published their survey results in the June edition of the Discover U.S. Spending Monitor, calling the month's response index of 96.3 the highest rating of the year so far. Discover launched the Spending Monitor index in May 2007 with a base index of 100. The Monitor's economic-only index reached 103.1 in June, beating the previous record of 100.7 set six years ago.

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