The majority of consumers surveyed by Discover Financial Services say the U.S. economy is in poor shape and getting worse.
The Riverwoods, Ill., card company said last week that its October U.S. Spending Monitor index fell a record 6 points from September, to 80.4. Discover's monthly index of consumer purchasing habits was pegged at 100 when it was launched in 2006.
Discover said 63% of consumers rate the economy as poor, and 72% say conditions are declining. In October of last year 19% gave the economy a poor rating, and 52% said they believe things were getting worse.
Also, 60% of consumers said their personal financial conditions are in fair or poor shape, and a record percentage (almost 56%) said their financial situations are getting worse.
Discover found that 66% of consumers held their personal spending steady or reduced it from the previous month, and 71% said they plan to do so this month.
"October's numbers show consumers clearly are hunkering down to ride out the economic and financial crisis," Margo Georgiadis, a Discover executive vice president and its chief marketing officer, said in a press release.
"All the negative news about bank rescues, job reductions, mortgage foreclosures, and stock volatility are giving consumers no reason to abandon the caution they've employed in terms of their spending."