May 5, 2009

Poll: Mood improves, but spending drops

U.S. consumers responding to weekly polls indicated an improved outlook on the economy, but a continued reluctance to spend, Gallup said.

Consumer sentiment, measured in Gallup's Consumer Mood Index, rose from minus 59 in March to minus 24 this week, Gallup said. Respondents remain much more negative than positive, Gallup said.

In the most recent weekly survey, 11 percent indicated the economy was in good or excellent shape, while 48 percent indicated it was in poor shape.

Respondents in a spending survey indicated they spent $56 per day in stores, restaurants, gasoline stations and online last week, a decline from $71 a day spent a month ago and from $119 a day spent a year ago, Gallup said.

In a separate survey, Gallup said improved sentiment concerning job opportunities had leveled off.

The Net New Hiring Index, which uses 100 as the maximum value, dropped to minus five, down from the minus one two weeks ago. Put in perspective, the index a year ago registered a positive 23. It fell below zero in December and has stayed in negative territory since, Gallup said.

Gallup conducts a variety of daily consumer sentiment surveys based on interviews with about 1,000 U.S. adults each day. The margin of error was not given.