Consumer confidence in the economy stabilized last month, after declining for three consecutive months, despite the growing number of people with pessimistic views of their personal finances, according to Discover Financial Services.
The Riverwoods, Ill., credit card company said Wednesday that its U.S. Spending Monitor Index was nearly flat in August, declining 0.3 point, to 86.2. The index was pegged at 100 when it was created in 2007.
Twenty-seven percent of consumers said they think overall economic conditions are improving, up from 23.4% in July. About 57% of respondents rated the economy "poor," unchanged from July.
Consumers' pessimism about their household finances rose; 24% of respondents rated their personal financial situations as poor, up from 21.3% in July, and 48% said they feel their personal finances are getting worse, unchanged from July.
About 42% of August's respondents said they would have no money left after paying bills, up from 39.3% in July, and 47% said they would have money left over, down from 48.9% in July.
"Financial uncertainty has consumers pretty much adopting a hold-the-line attitude toward their spending," Julie Loeger, Discover's senior vice president of brand and product management, said in a press release. "The good news is that, for the first time in four months, the monitor reported an increase in consumers who feel economic conditions are improving. If consumers continue to feel the economy is on the mend, it may give them a reason to believe their [own] financial situation will improve as well."