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Americans Still Cutting Back

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Although the Obama administration is focused on trying to stimulate the economy and is actively encouraging spending, Americans are not that inclined to spend and are still decreasing the amount they will be spending on eating out and entertainment, according to results of The Harris Poll, a new study of 2,355 U.S. adults surveyed online between March 9, and March 16, by Harris Interactive.

Americans will cut back on spending over the next six months. Specifically, three-quarters of Americans said they will likely decrease spending on eating out in restaurants (74 percent) and reduce spending on entertainment (74 percent). This is up from November, when 65 percent said they would decrease spending on eating out and 64 percent said they would reduce entertainment spending, the research showed.

Two-thirds of Americans (65 percent) said it is not likely they will take a vacation away from home lasting longer than a week, while 35 percent said they will vacation away from home. In November, three in 10 Americans (29 percent) said they would be likely to take a trip.

Large purchases also will suffer, as more than three-quarters of Americans said it is not likely they will buy a new computer (78 percent), move to a different residence (80 percent), buy or lease a vehicle (89 percent), purchase a house or condo (90 percent), start a new business (90 percent) or buy a boat or recreational vehicle (95 percent). These numbers are all very similar to November, illustrating people are still not ready to spend on the big-ticket items, Harris Interactive stated.

Only one in five Americans (21 percent) said it’s likely they will have more money to spend the way they want in the next six months, slightly down from 25 percent in November.

People are split on saving or investing, with 50 percent saying it is likely they will save or invest more money and another 50 percent saying it is not likely they will do so. These results are almost unchanged from November when 49 percent of respondents said they were likely to save or invest and 51 percent said they were not likely to do so.

This Harris Poll was conducted online March 9-16, among 2,355 U.S. adults (aged 18 and older). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online, according to Harris Interactive.

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