Economic news is plentiful, and depending on who one listens to the economy is getting better, the economy may be sliding backwards or things are stagnant. But, regardless of what the experts think, how do Americans think the economy is going this month? On the whole, their thinking is that it’s pretty flat. Looking first at how Americans think President Obama is handling the economy, just under three in ten (28%) give him positive marks for his handling of the economy while 72% give him negative ratings. This is similar to last month when 29% gave him positive marks and 71% gave him negative ones.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,236 adults surveyed online between January 15 and 20, 2014 by Harris Interactive. (Full findings, including data tables and complete trends, can be found here)
When it comes to the economy as a whole, attitudes are again very similar to last month. One-quarter of U.S. adults (26%) believe the economy will improve in the coming year, while 44% say it will stay the same and 30% say it will get worse. Last month, 27% believed the economy would improve, 42% said it would stay the same and 32% believed it would get worse.
Looking at individual households, half of Americans (49%) believe their household’s financial condition will stay the same over the next six months, while 23% say it will get better and 29% believe it will be worse. Last November, as many Americans were getting started on their holiday spending, again half (50%) said it would stay the same, three in ten (30%) said their household finances would get worse and 20% believed they would be better in the next six months.
Looking at jobs
The mantra of this recovery is that the job market is lagging behind all other indicators. Americans do tend to be more pessimistic about jobs than about the general economy. Almost half of U.S. adults (48%) say the current job market in their region of the country is bad, one in five (21%) say it is good, and three in ten (31%) say it is neither good nor bad. This is almost unchanged from October, when 20% said it was good, 48% said it was bad and 32% of U.S. adults said the job market in their region was neither good nor bad. Looking at job markets by region, the South seems to be more optimistic than the East or Midwest about how theirs is. Almost three in ten Southerners (28%) say the job market in their region is good, compared to 16% of Midwesterners and 17% of Easterners who say the same.
Looking ahead, one-quarter of Americans (24%) say the job market in their region over the next six months will be better and 23% say that it will be worse; over half (53%) believe it remain the same. This is up a little from October when over one-quarter of U.S. adults (27%) said the job market in their region would be worse and one in five (20%) thought it would improve over the next six months.