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Principal survey: more Americans foresee economic gains in 2013

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The percentage of American workers who believe the economy will improve in 2013 has risen by 11 percentage points, according to new research.

Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa, published this finding in a report, “Principal Financial Well-Being Index: American Workers.”  Conducted by Harris Interactive New York, the report surveyed 1,103 American workers at small and mid-sized businesses with 10 to 1,000 workers, and is part of a series on the financial well-being of Americans released quarterly by the Principal Financial Group.

The survey reveals that 43 percent of workers anticipate economic improvements next year, up from just 32 percent last quarter.

Despite their confidence in the state of the economy in 2013, more employees (42 percent, up from 32 percent last quarter) are stressed about the economy. But significantly fewer workers (36 percent) are stressed about their personal finances, down from 42 percent last quarter, the report notes.

With the holiday season underway, many workers are adjusting their plans to accommodate tighter budgets, the report states.

Just over a third of workers will be spending less per gift this holiday season due to the economy. And another third will be paring down the number of people on their gift lists.

Workers are also scaling back on holiday travel plans: About a quarter will be traveling less this holiday season due to the economy.

Sixty-two percent of workers say their spending this holiday season will be consistent with the amount spent last year, while 30 percent say they will be spending less. Only 9 percent say they expect to spend more at the holidays this year.

American workers are wary of racking up more debt. When it comes to making their purchases, slightly more than a third of workers plan to pay for their holiday gifts via credit card, while more than half plan to pay with either a debit card or cash, the report reveals.