Despite market gains, Americans cutting back on expenses

Contrary to a number of recent surveys of business leaders and economists, U.S. consumers are less confident in the state of the economy over the next year, according to the most recent Harris Poll from Harris Interactive.

Contrary to a number of recent surveys of business leaders and economists, U.S. consumers are less confident in the state of the economy over the next year, according to the most recent Harris Poll from Harris Interactive.

The report found 67 percent of Americans are buying generic brands to save money. That figure is up from 61 percent in February and marks the highest it has been in its two-year history.

The study also noted significant reductions in other spending areas. For example, a quarter of consumers are cutting back on dry cleaning, and as much as 21 percent of respondents reported they have stopped purchasing coffee in the morning. In addition, one in five surveyed adults have reduced their cable TV service.

With the economy continuing through a slow rebound, many economists argue consumer spending is needed to spark a more vibrant recovery.

"While making more careful spending decisions may be good for a household budget, continual cutting back doesn't do much to help the overall economy grow," Harris reports. "It seems a balance will need to be reached to make Americans feel secure in their own households' finances as well as comfortable enough spending to allow the country's economy to grow once again."