7 in 10 Adults Don’t See Economic Improvement Coming

July 6, 2010

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Data-driven | Financial Services | Youth & Gen X

A combined seven in 10 US adults think the economy will stay flat or deteriorate in the coming year, according to the results of a new Harris Poll.

Fewer Expect Better Economy in 12 Months
As of June 2010, just three in ten US adults (30%) say they expect the economy to improve, while two in five (42%) say it will stay the same; 28% believe it will get worse. Last month, almost two in five Americans (38%) said they thought the economy would improve in the coming year, while 34% said it would stay the same and 28% believed it would get worse.

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Expectations for Next 6 Months Even Dimmer
Narrowing the time and focus to the next six months and one’s own household finances, just one in five Americans (21%) believe their financial condition will be better in the next six months while over half (52%) say it will be the same and 27% believe it will get worse. In May 2010, one-quarter (25%) believed their household’s financial condition would be better in the next six months while 47% believed it would remain the same and 28% said it would be worse.

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Younger, Democrats More Optimistic
Younger Americans are more optimistic. Almost three in ten (28%) Echo Boomers (those 18-33) say their household’s finances will be better in the next six months and only 19% say they will be worse. Going to the oldest generation, Matures (aged 65 years and older), just 14% believe their household’s finances will be better in the next six months, while more than one-third (36%) say they will be worse.

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There are also political party differences. More than one-quarter of Democrats (27%) say they expect their household’s financial condition to be better in the next six months while 18% expect it to be worse. On the other hand, almost two in five Republicans (37%) say they expect their household’s financial condition to be worse in the next six months and only 15% expect it to be better.

Most Think Growth More than 1 Year Away
There is also pessimism regarding when the economy will start growing again. Just 14% of Americans believe the economy has already started growing, down from 17% who said so in April 2010. In April, one in 10 (9%) U.S. adults thought the economy would start growing within the next six months, and as of June 2010 only 7% think so. One in five Americans (18%) say the economy will start growing between 6 and 12 months from now, but more than two in five (43%) say it won’t start growing for another year or more.

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Consumer Troubles Grow
US consumers are facing increased financial difficulties and a soured employment picture, according to the June 2010 Consumer Reports Index. The Consumer Reports Trouble Tracker Index continued a yo-yo pattern, dramatically increasing in June 2010 after significantly falling in May 2010 and skyrocketing in April 2010. The Index rose to 63.5 from 53 in May. The biggest increase is in missed mortgage payments, which reached 3.9%, its highest level since tracking began in April 2009, and is up significantly from May (2.5%).

In addition, following two months of growth which brought it into positive territory for the first time since May 2009, the Consumer Reports Employment Index fell from 50.6 to 49.4, signifying a contraction in the job market (a score of 50 or higher means the job market is expanding).

About the Data: This Harris Poll was conducted online within the US between June 14-21, 2010 among 2,227 adults (aged 18 and older). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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