Americans sour on economy amid inflation woes
SAN FRANCISCO (AP). — Americans’ views on the U.S. have declined noticeably over the past month, a new poll shows. Nearly half of Americans expect economic conditions to worsen within the next year.
Just 35% of Americans now call the national economy good, while 65% call it poor, according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That’s a dip since September, when 45% of Americans called the economy good, and a return to about where views of the nation’s economy stood in January and February, when the pandemic was raging across the nation. The decline in Americans’ economic feelings is due to rising prices for goods, especially gas, and global supply chain bottlenecks that have made it more difficult to purchase everything from furniture, cars, and other items. The Labor Department reported that September consumer prices rose 5.4% compared to a year ago, which is the highest one-year increase in price since 2008..
Nadine Christians, 55, stated that she has been worried about the increasing cost of living in the last year.
“I grew-up in the 1970s, and I can remember how difficult it was for my parents to make ends meets,” Christian stated. This was referring to the last time high inflation had severely affected the U.S. economy. “It’s not quite as bad as it was back then but I feel like any day we could go off the rails.”
Roughly half of Americans — 47% — now say they expect the economy to get worse in the next year, compared with just 30% who think it will get better. In an AP-NORC poll conducted in February and March, the situation was reversed: 44% expected the economy to get better in the year ahead and just 32% said it would get worse.
In February and March, 70%% of Democrats predicted that the economy would improve. Only 51% think so. From 59% earlier this year, the percentage of Republicans who believe the economy will get worse has risen to 74%.
Joseph Binkley, 34, from Indiana, said he’s worried about inflation but thinks the problems in the economy are temporary.
” “I believe it’s mostly an issue of supply-demand, as the economy has improved,” he stated.
Binkley stated that he supports President Biden’s economic policies.
“A lot of the first year of a presidency involves dealing with policies from the previous administration. I think Biden is having to work through the problems of the previous administration.”
The AP-NORC poll shows a majority of Americans are critical of Biden’s handling of the economy, with 58% saying they disapprove and 41% saying they approve. Despite the decline in Americans’ economic outlooks the poll found that they are still optimistic about their financial situation. The poll showed that 65% Americans believe their personal financial situation to be good. This is a percentage that has remained relatively constant since the outbreak of the pandemic. Still, 24% say they think their personal finances will get worse in the next year, up from 13% earlier this year.
The poll also shows signs that the pandemic has helped improve workers’ bargaining power: 36% of Americans are very or extremely confident that they could find a good job if they wanted to. In March of 2020, 25% said that, and in June of 2019, 30% said so. Another 35% say they’re at least somewhat confident.
About half of Americans, 49%, now say they’re highly confident they could pay an unexpected bill of $1,000, up from 36% in March of 2020 and 40% in June of 2019.
There are still economic inequalities among Hispanic and Black Americans, compared to their white counterparts. White Americans are more likely than Hispanic or Black Americans to feel confident about their ability to pay unexpected bills or medical expenses. The supply chain problems have impacted economic forecasts for businesses. Several large companies claim it has been difficult to find basic materials for manufacturing, such as raw materials and semiconductors.
“Companies keep saying to me, “If I could only get the materials, then my business will grow significantly,” said Steve Steinour CEO of Huntington Bancshares. This large regional bank chain is primarily located in the Midwest.
The AP-NORC poll of 1,083 adults was conducted Oct. 21-25 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. All respondents have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.
Swanson reported from Washington.