Even as the White House has been touting the economic recovery seven years after the 2008 recession, 45% of Americans think that the US economy is “only fair”. Less than a third, at 27%, think of the economy as good or excellent, according to the Pew Research Center.
Pew conducted its poll of 1,500 Americans between 8 and 13 December. This was just days before the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time since June 2006. According to Janet Yellen, the Fed chair, the move should signal to Americans that the Fed has confidence in the US economy.
“It reflects the committee’s confidence that the economy will continue to strengthen,” said Yellen. “The economic recovery has clearly come a long way although it is not yet complete.”
The lowest-income Americans are the ones who have yet to feel the impact of this recovery. Two thirds, 68%, of those earning $30,000 or less told Pew that their family’s income is falling behind the cost of living.
And while the majority of Americans, at 61%, hope that their personal finance will improve over the next year, about 54% of them believe that the overall economy will remain the same.
Optimism in economic recovery has been on a downward decline among all Americans, but especially among Democrats. Back in 2012, 51% of Democrats, 29% of independents and 23% of Republicans believed that economy would improve in 2013. This year, just 24% of Democrats, 18% of independents and 16% of Republicans believe that the US economy will be better come December 2016.
It’s not just average Americans who are pessimistic about how the US economy will fare next year. In its quarterly survey of 140 US CEOs, the Business Roundtable found that their economic outlook was the lowest in three years. Their outlook – based on their projections for sales, investment and hiring plans for the next fix months – fell from 74.1 in the third quarter of 2015 to 67.5 in the fourth quarter.
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