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Survey: Americans' pessimism on economy has grown

Posted: August 28, 2014 11:08 a.m.
Updated: August 28, 2014 11:08 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans are more anxious about the economy now than they were right after the Great Recession ended despite stock market gains, falling unemployment and growth moving closer to full health.

Seventy-one percent of Americans say they think the recession exerted a permanent drag on the economy, according to a survey being released Thursday by Rutgers University. By contrast, in November 2009, five months after the recession officially ended, the Rutgers researchers found that only 49 percent thought the downturn would have lasting damage.

And that was when the unemployment rate was 9.9 percent, compared with the current 6.2 percent.

"They're more negative than they were five years ago," said Rutgers public policy professor Carl Van Horn.

The slow pace of improvement during most of the recovery, now in its sixth year, has eroded confidence and slowed a return to the pay levels that many enjoyed before the economy suffered its worst collapse since the 1930s. About 42 percent of those surveyed say they have less pay and savings than before the recession began in late 2007. Just 7 percent say they're significantly better off.

The survey results dovetail with estimates that the median household income was $53,891 in June, according to Sentier Research. That's down from an inflation-adjusted $56,604 at the start of the recession.

Each year of subpar growth has compounded the anxieties of many Americans. In contrast to the robust snapbacks that coincided with most economic rebounds, this recovery proved tepid well after the recession had ended. Consumers struggled with an overhang of mortgage debt and the risk of layoffs for much of the recovery. A majority of those surveyed say they fear that job security has all but disappeared and that they'll have little choice but to work part time during retirement.

"No current worker had ever experienced this before," Van Horn said. "This recession was everywhere."

Researchers at Rutgers' John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development surveyed online a national cross-section of 1,153 adults between July 24 and August 3. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points. The survey is part of a broader series of polls taken over multiple years to study the consequences of the recession for workers.

Recent evidence of economic strength has done little to brighten most Americans' outlooks. The Standard and Poor's 500 stock index has surged more than 170 percent since bottoming in March 2009. Yet only 14 percent of the respondents said the gains have affected them a lot — a sign of either meager investments or the extent to which families unloaded their stock holdings near the bottom of the market.

Employers have added an average of more than 244,000 jobs a month since February, a vigorous pace that recalls the dot-com era of the 1990s. Over the past 12 months, the unemployment rate has dropped more than a full percentage point from 7.3 percent to a nearly normal 6.2 percent.

This month, job growth helped propel the Conference Board's consumer confidence index to its highest reading since October 2007. The index often tracks the unemployment rate.

The gap between the index and the Rutgers survey likely reflects the type of questions posed by the university researchers. They asked about family finances, job satisfaction, retirement plans and the specific consequences of the recession. By contrast, the confidence index asks about broader perceptions of business and employment conditions and plans to buy autos, homes and household appliances.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




stray: Posted: August 28, 2014 8:05 p.m.

What would you expect people to think ??? Just look at who's running DC and that explains everything! Start at the top with Mr. Onothing... He knows NOTHING about economics - he knows NOTHING about foreign policy - he knows NOTHING about the military - and simply stated "He knows NOTHING about NOTHING" except for golf ...
His failed economic policies have green lighted BIG business to move away from Corporate America... Just look at two companies - GE moved to China and Burger King moved to Canada. There are so many more - and just look how many moved from Cali to Texas for tax reasons as well... Well, to cap it, look who's running bankrupt Detroit - answer: DUMBocrats... Look who's running bankrupt Stockton - answer: DUMBocrats...

What do you expect ???

ricketzz: Posted: August 29, 2014 10:00 a.m.

Stray seems a little wound up, must get the news from the TV or something. Today's economy is the end result of 30 years of Voodoo Economics. This was all predicted before Reagan decided "securing the Blessings of Liberty" only applied to wealthy aristocrats.

SCV123: Posted: August 29, 2014 11:09 a.m.

A bunch of low paying part time jobs with wages paid in our highly devalued currency (thanks to the federal reserve and it's criminal corporate welfare recipients) while the rich get richer is hardly an economic recovery. On top of it, students graduate to face tons of debt and the most hostile workplace environments I've seen in my lifetime (assuming you even find a job to go get abused at). It's no wonder that morale is low.

stray: Posted: August 29, 2014 4:18 p.m.

@ricketzz - "Stray seems a little wound up"

Nope! Not wound up at all... just speaking very candidly like I always do. In FACT, everything I mentioned earlier is the unequivocal truth!

ricketzz: Posted: August 30, 2014 9:39 a.m.

You seem prone to hyperbole. Obama knows "nothing" except golf is the "unequivocal truth"? Really? Who is telling you these things? In war truth is the first casualty; listen to the VOA or the BBC for war news; KOL Israel if you like. They are all 180 degrees from the propaganda you get on American commercial media.

Political derangement is a tool used by the mind manipulators behind big media's plan to further enslave you. To break the chains stop watching the news.

stray: Posted: August 30, 2014 12:09 p.m.

@ricketzz - "Obama knows "nothing" except golf is the "unequivocal truth"?"

Yep, that's right! Just take another example of his most recent "foot in his mouth" statement which proves he knows NOTHING... He said "I don’t have a strategy yet for dealing with ISIS." It proves he doesn't have a clue about ANYTHING concerning events abroad - let alone here in America. He literally hates Israel - so he condones Iran to continue building nuclear power to eventually destroy Israel. He has endangered our borders while letting terrorists cross undetected and hang out in different areas in the US until they strike us again. This imbecile and ALL his cronies in his Party are doing serious damage to the security of the United States amongst other things as well.

So yeah, he knows NOTHING about being a leader either! At least the Brits, Canadians, et al, have elected LEADERS. Americans are too stupid - look who they voted in TWICE !!!

DMeyer: Posted: August 30, 2014 3:00 p.m.

Remember everyone...all that has gone wrong in the last 6 years is all W's fault. And all that has gone right is due to the brilliance of BHO. When will you all finally figure that out? They keep telling us it must be true, right?

UsualSuspect: Posted: August 30, 2014 3:23 p.m.

This did not happen overnight, it took years. Look at disfunctional Congress is, their job is to create legislation, problem is, neither side can negotiate their way out of a burning building. The guy at the top doe snot really matter, Congress can override any veto, but first Congress has to learn to stop telling us why the other side is to blame, and actually do their job. As for Burger King, their effective tax rate for the last 3 years was 27%, in their new Headquarters it is 26%, so I doubt taxes is the reason.

stray: Posted: August 30, 2014 9:19 p.m.

@DMeyer - "All that has gone wrong in the last 6 years is all W's fault"

Yeah, that's certainly what Oblamer has stated EACH and EVERY time he's under scrutiny from HIS failed policies!
I'm still counting on one finger what all that has gone right due to his brilliance. Can you enlighten me so I can count past one ???

BTW, I'm still waiting for that check... Have you received yours yet ?

@UsualSuspect - "I doubt taxes is the reason"

The move to Canada and merger with Tim Horton's was mainly done for tax purposes.

"Executives at the two companies claim the main purpose of the deal IS NOT JUST to lower tax rates."

"In 2013, Burger King’s income before taxes totaled $322.2 million. That means a theoretical tax savings of $8.1 million."

I surely believe that stock holders are THRILLED over this deal, wouldn't you be UsualSuspect ???

BTW, Oblamer can restructure the corporate tax rate if he wanted to. After all, he's got a pen and a phone! :) But WAIT !!! I don't believe the phone has cell service on the golf course, and I'm certain that his pen is out of ink because of ALL the signatures he signed on Obozocare. :)

DMeyer: Posted: August 31, 2014 12:37 a.m.


BHO passed the ACA, no one else could have ever pulled that off. Now everyone has health care, good health care, not the crappy health insurance they had before. Luckily for us the Dems know what is best for all of us since we are too dumb to figure it our for ourselves. And just as promised if we don't like the new policies forced down our throats we get to keep our old policies and our old doctor, period. And not only that it will only cost 900 billion to implement, and it just keeps getting better...all of our health care costs will go down, we are all getting a 2,500.00 check!

Although I still haven't got my check I'm sure it will be in my mailbox any day now.

stray: Posted: August 31, 2014 2:03 p.m.

@DM -

I'm hoping that you won't hold your breath waiting for that check! I figure that when we all receive the check, we can put that money towards the new gasoline tax coming soon, and the remainder we should set aside for the inflated health care premiums, inflated costs of meat prices, toll roads when they get here; and of course, the new METRO high speed rail taxes. I'm not sure if we'll have much left to pay towards the new sodium chloride removal tax though...

stray: Posted: September 1, 2014 11:59 p.m.

And being that any sensible person KNOWS that the check isn't coming, those new taxes and inflated health premiums will come out of my pocket like everything else!

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