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The Nielsen Co. is out with its quarterly assessment of consumer confidence in the US, which it says shows "the biggest jump in Consumer Confidence since 2008."

Highlights:

• "The "biggest jump in Consumer Confidence since the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008 – Consumer Confidence jumped six points to 83.

• "49% of Americans said their personal financial prospects looked 'good to excellent,' up from 43% in the previous quarter and encouraged by signs of an improving labor market."

• "42% said they plan to spend on discretionary items this year, a 6-point rise from Q4 2012 and a welcomed increase from the average of 33 percent over the past three years."

• "23% of Americans said they intended to spend on home improvement and decorating projects (an increase of 6 points compared to Q4 2012) ... 22% of respondents plan on taking a vacation (an increase of 2 percentage points compared to Q4 2012) ... 22% of Americans plan on spending on out of home entertainment (an increase of 2 percentage points compared to Q4 2012) ... 25% of Americans plan on buying new clothes (a decline from 27% reported in Q4 2012)."

However, a discordant note was sounded in the report, which says that "78% of Americans said they believed they were in a recession, a quarterly increase of 4 points, but demonstrated a cautious eagerness to spend."

James Russo, senior vice president, Global Consumer Insights, Nielsen, suggests that this is because "more than three-quarters of Americans are still feeling the effects" of the recession, "with close to two-thirds of Americans living pay check to pay check."
KC's View:
There seems to be no question that the economy is improving, but this research confirms something that has been suspected - that the rebound is being felt a lot more by certain segments of society than it is by others. A rising tide that only raises some boats but swamps others also can be seen as a storm.