Tags: economy | recovery | secure | job

Pew Survey: Americans Still Fearful About the Economy

By Michael Kling   |   Friday, 20 Sep 2013 09:08 AM

Americans are still fearful about the economy five years after the financial crisis, a Pew Research Center poll reveals.

Sixty-percent of those polled say the nation's economic system is not any more secure now that it was before the 2008 market crash. Only a third says the economy is more secure now.

The level of anxiety varies depending on political party. Most Republicans (80 percent) and Independents (68 percent) say the economic system is not more secure. Democrats are divided: 51 percent say it's more secure while 45 percent say it is not.

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Although perceptions about the economy have been gradually improving since the recession, only 19 percent believe the economy is excellent or good, while almost a third rate it as poor and roughly half say it's only fair.

Jobs are the biggest concern, with 40 percent saying it's the economic issue that worries them most, while 24 percent named the budget deficit as their top economic worry, 22 percent cited rising prices and 10 percent named the condition of the financial and housing markets.

Most believe government policies have done little or nothing to help the poor, the middle class, or small businesses. Instead, most say government policies have done a lot or a fair amount to help large banks and financial institutions, large corporations or wealthy people.

Over half (54 percent) say household incomes have hardly recovered at all, and 52 percent say the job situation has barely recovered. Most (74 percent) say the stock market has at least partially recovered, and 63 percent say real estate values have at least partially recovered. However, relatively few believe those sectors have fully recovered.

According to a new Gallup poll, Americans generally believe the job market is improving. Twenty-seven percent say that now is a good time to find a quality job, up from 21 percent in August. However, lower-income Americans seem to be becoming increasingly pessimistic, with 19 percent saying that now is a good time to find a job, unchanged from August and down from 26 percent in July and 30 percent in June.

The employment gap among income groups is at its highest in 10 years. Almost three-quarters of high-income Americans are employed, compared with barely a third of the lowest income group.

"Although the analysis is based on January to July 2013, lower-income Americans may just be coming to terms with the challenging 'new normal,'" the Gallup report states.

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