Americans plan to spend more this holiday - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Americans plan to spend more this holiday

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(NBC) Americans plan to spend more on gifts this Christmas than in any holiday season in the past five years as economic optimism hits a post-recession high, according to the CNBC All-America Economic Survey. The average American plans to spend $765 this year, up 12 percent versus last year, and about 6.5 percent higher than the average across the survey's nine-year history. Behind the Yuletide cheer is an improved outlook for expected home values, wage gains and stocks—all three are at or above their highest levels since the 2008 recession.

The poll of 806 Americans nationwide was conducted by the Republican/Democrat polling team of Hart-McInturff over Thanksgiving weekend and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Sentiment has popped in the survey before only to retrace its gains, so the overarching question is whether it will stick this time. One reason for optimism is that the current numbers eclipse the old post-recession highs and have begun to approach precrisis levels.

For example, 26 percent said the economy is excellent or good, with the 8-point gain the best on record and optimism equal with that of December 2007.

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