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"The economy continues its slow and steady recovery, though economists are hesitant to say that it has officially recovered. While some consumers may be watching economic indicators, many are not, and even those who are may not see the direct effects on their daily lives. Overall, if consumers were already feeling confident in their financial situation, those positive feelings have continued. Geographic region has a slight effect on opinions about consumers’ financial situation, especially when thinking about how to increase one’s finances. Spending and savings plans have not changed in a significant way, even as these plans are shown to be influenced by seasons."
- Jennifer White Boehm, Associate Director - Financial Services

What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Executive Summary

    • Economic overview
      • In focus: area of residence
      • State of the Economy

        • Economic overview
          • Figure 1: Key economic indicators, August 2018
        • Unemployment numbers are decreasing, but wages are not significantly increasing
          • Figure 2: Median household income, 1980-2017*
        • Consumer confidence
          • Figure 3: Consumer Sentiment Index, January 2016-August 2018
      • Current Financial Situation

        • Consumer opinion shows optimism heading into Fall
          • Figure 4: Opinion on current financial situation, August 2018
        • Financial situations remain consistent
          • Figure 5: Opinion on current financial situation, Q1 2017-Q3 2018
        • Suburban consumers most confident about their finances
          • Figure 6: Opinion on current financial situation, by geographic region, August 2018
      • Changes in Financial Wellbeing

        • Financial optimism reflected in looking to the future
          • Figure 7: Changes in financial wellbeing, August 2018
        • Most consumers still see little to no change, but confidence rebounds to earlier levels
          • Figure 8: Changes in financial situation, Q1 2017-Q3 2018
        • Urban, rural consumers are most positive for the upcoming year
            • Figure 9: Changes in financial situation, by geographic region, August 2018
        • Improving Finances

          • Consumers continue to rely on what they can control
            • Figure 10: Top ways to improve financial situation, August 2018
            • Figure 11: PayPal back to school email, September 2018
          • Job stability jumps in popularity for Q3
            • Figure 12: Top ways to improve financial situation, Q1 2017-Q3 2018
          • Geography affects opinions on improving economic situation
            • Figure 13: Improving financial situation, by geographic region, August 2018
        • Spending Plans

          • Consumers continue to cut back on spending to add to savings
            • Figure 14: Savings habits, Q1 2017-Q3 2018
          • Home renovations continue to be biggest expense
            • Figure 15: Spending habits, Q1 2017-Q3 2018
        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

          • Data sources
            • Consumer survey data
              • Direct marketing creative
                • Abbreviations and terms
                  • Abbreviations

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