A number of recent reports on the state of the U.S. economy have offered considerable hope for recovery in 2012. Unemployment showed strong improvements in November, and small business lending continues to expand alongside manufacturing activity and consumer sentiment. However, the economy is still Americans' top concern, according to a new CNN poll, and unemployment is the most important economic concern. The survey found 70 percent of surveyed Americans believe things are going badly. Fifty-seven percent of respondents cite the economy as the No. 1 priority facing the country. The federal deficit took a distance second place with 16 percent of votes. More than half of respondents - 51 percent - pointed to unemployment as the country's top economic problem, followed by the deficit with 27 percent of responses. "But as heated debate over a payroll tax cut extensions take center stage in a congressional standoff, the poll indicates only seven percent of Americans list taxes as the most important economic problem in the country," reports CNN Associate Producer Rebecca Stewart. While Americans are reining in many of their debts, lenders may want to employ consumer credit risk management
policies to protect their capital from excessive risk.