Consumer spending expected to remain slow in 2012

The amount consumers are willing or able to spend during the first half of the new year will likely be impacted significantly by the slow economic recovery, as well as previous credit habits.

Consumer habits changed significantly during and in the immediate wake of the recent recession, and experts believe that a number of economic factors will likely work to depress consumer spending in the first half of 2012, according to a report from the New York Times. Overall, the forecasting company Macroeconomic Advisers projects consumer spending will likely hit 2 percent in the first six months of the year, down from the estimated 3.6 percent growth expected for the fourth quarter of 2011.

Some of that is being pinned to consumers' credit habits these days, as many are working hard to avoid taking on debt and some have even fallen behind on their various debts in recent months, the report said.

Many consumers may also have a hard time borrowing as much as they'd like because their interest rates are being affected by unsubstantiated or unfairly reported notations on their credit reports. For this reason, keeping a close eye on these documents is recommended, as it may help to identify factors that may lower credit scores.