More Americans Predict Bright Economy in 2013 Monetary policy determines the amount of money that flows through the economy. / Credit: Gts | Shutterstock

While the majority of Americans aren't too enthusiastic about the current state of the economy, the number of those who are optimistic about its future is on the rise, a new study finds.

Research from the Principal Financial Group revealed that 43 percent of U.S. workers anticipate economic improvements next year, up from just 32 percent last quarter.

That optimism could be contributing to the outlook many employees have on their personal finances. The study shows that 36 percent of workers are stressed about their current personal financial situation, down from 42 percent last quarter.

Luke Vandermillen, vice-president of retirement and investor services at the Principal, said business owners and employees alike have voiced worries about the health of the economy over the last six months.

"While it’s easy to feel paralyzed by this environment of uncertainty, Americans can alleviate some of their stress by setting concrete financial goals and putting a strategy in place to achieve them," Vandermillen said.

A number of employees are hoping to avoid making in 2013 the same financial mistakes they made this year. Not saving enough, accumulating credit card debt and not budgeting properly were the top three financial missteps workers made this year; their top financial resolutions for next year are saving a set amount per month, paying off credit card debt and cutting back on monthly spending.

As employees reflect back on the year, it's important they evaluate what they did well and where they have room for improvement from a financial standpoint, Vandermillen said.

"For the past two years, Americans have listed not saving enough as their top financial blunder, but this is the first year since 2008 that a pragmatic approach to savings — saving a set amount every month — tops the list of financial resolutions," he said. "We’re encouraged that many Americans are resolved to be diligent about saving more in 2013."

The research was based on surveys of more than 1,100 employees from small and midsize businesses with 10 to 1,000 workers.

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