American economic optimism took a sharp turn down in the fourth quarter from record high levels, with the CNBC All-America Economic Survey registering its biggest quarterly drop in its 12-year history.
Yet the decline in optimism looks to be doing little to dissuade Americans from shopping for the holiday season. Spending plans surged to their highest level in the history of the survey, propelled by strong income and wage gains over the past year.
The percentage of Americans viewing the economy as excellent or good dropped 8 points to 50 percent. Yet that number remains well above the long-run average for the survey. Those believing the economy will improve dropped 5 points to 31 percent, bringing it back down to the long-run average. The decline wiped out a big part of the gain that ensued after President Donald Trump took office.
"This is not the trend we have been seeing,'' said Micah Roberts, partner with Public Opinion Strategies and the Republican pollster for CNBC's survey. "We are on a different trajectory than we have seen since the Trump presidency."