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If the recession isn't ending quickly enough to suit you, blame women. A newly released survey by Publicis Groupe's Performics finds them significantly gloomier than men about the economy and correspondingly more austere in their spending.
In polling fielded last month, 54 percent of women, vs. 38 percent of men, agreed that their current economic situation "is worse than at this time last year." This almost exactly matches the disparity in the number of female and male respondents saying they "expect to spend less overall in the next 60 days than in the same period last year" -- 55 percent of the women and 37 percent of the men.
Nor, if the poll's respondents are to be believed, will this gender gap disappear once the economy recovers. Seventy-three percent of the women, vs. 57 percent of the men, subscribed to the statement, "The recession has fundamentally changed the way I think about saving and spending money."
The poll also looked at specific categories in which respondents said they'd cut back their spending in the 60 days before being questioned. Seventy-four percent of the women, vs. 63 percent of the men, said they'd been cutting back on expenditures for "entertainment." The pattern was similar for the "apparel & personal care" category (71 percent of women, 59 percent of men) and for the "luxury" sector (70 percent of women, 59 percent of men). While fewer respondents overall said they'd been paring their outlays on "household essentials," women were more likely than men (42 percent vs. 30 percent) to be economizing in this area as well.
Another section of the report noted some regional variation on consumers' economic outlook. Though cheeriness was more the exception than the rule from coast to coast, there was more of it in the Southwest than elsewhere. Thirty-two percent of respondents in that part of the country said their economic situation is better now than it was a year earlier. Just 7 percent of those in the West said the same, as did 9 percent in the Midwest, 14 percent in the Southeast and 16 percent in the Northeast/mid-Atlantic.