Half of Americans feel more financially secure than they did one year ago, according to Putnam Investments' annual holiday survey released Thursday. The survey of 1,000 Americans found respondents are generally optimistic about 2011.
More than 60% of respondents expect stock prices to go up in 2011, according to the survey. Over half (53%) say unemployment will go down, but just 43% say the housing market will improve. One-third of respondents say the economy will be "much healthier," and 40% expect the United States to be more competitive in global markets.
Jeffrey Carney, head of global marketing, products and retirement for Putnam, pointed to "positive momentum in Washington" regarding taxes as a possible explanation for consumers' confidence.
"Regardless of what is happening in Washington, Americans have been resilient in the face of tremendous challenges in recent years, and our survey shows they remain focused on improving their personal financial situation and saving for the future. While these findings are encouraging, we still have a long way to go," he said in a statement.
It wasn't all good news; despite 33% of Americans saying the economy will be healthier in 2011, 70% don't think the federal deficit will fall at all.
Still, saving more and spending less is a top priority for survey respondents. In preparing for the holidays, 44% said they were instituting a self-imposed spending limit, and 34% were establishing a limit on holiday entertainment costs. One-third said they have saved more in 2010 than they did in 2009.
Respondents' top resolution for the new year was to save more, followed by spending less.