Despite the public being more upbeat on the economy than it was a year ago, the CNBC All-America Economic Survey found holiday spending will be virtually flat as uncertainty and "fiscal cliff" concerns weigh on consumers.
Americans plan to spend $742 on average buying gifts, compared with actual spending of $740 in 2011 reported by the National Retail Federation. The number remains muted even though Americans are as optimistic about expected pay hikes as they've been since just after the recession began.
The percentage of Americans who said the economy is poor fell to 44 percent from 61 percent a year ago; most of that change ended up in those saying the economy is just fair, which grew to 41 percent of the public from 30 percent. Only 14 percent said the economy is excellent or good, up from 8 percent.