Americans are gloomier about both the economy and the nation's direction over the past three months, even as a recovery beckons on the horizon. Many in the US are also worried that they have lost their footing as the world’s most influential economy. They’ll eventually bounce back, for many reasons, but for now the figures show almost half feel less financially secure than when President Barack Obama first took office in January. As a result, consumers are acting like Scrooge as they head out for festive season shopping, with half the country planning to spend less on gifts than last year. This worries market watchers, because consumers are the drivers of the US economy. Obama is proposing new spending on the nation's transportation system, tax credits to spur hiring by small businesses and incentives to make homes more energy efficient, after unemployment hit 10% in November. One in 10 jobless in America is a dramatic thing, and the world better hope that this soon ends. Read more: Business Week
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