Americans are becoming more pessimistic about the economy, more concerned about inflation — and now more concerned about the job market.
Fifty-two percent of American adults say they are financially worse off than a year ago, according to a survey conducted this month for DailyExpertNews by online research platform Momentive. That was up from 41 percent in April and was by far the highest share in the five years of the survey. Just 14 percent of Americans said they were better off than they were a year ago, the worst in the survey’s history.
The dour mood is also reflected in other studies. The University of Michigan’s consumer confidence index hit its lowest level in its 70-year history this month. Another measure of consumer confidence, the Conference Board, has also fallen, albeit less drastically.
It’s no mystery what’s driving the bleak consumer outlook: prices rising at the fastest pace in a generation. According to the Momentive poll, more than nine in 10 Americans say they are concerned about inflation, including 70 percent who say they are “very concerned,” compared to 63 percent in April.
Inflation has emerged as a major political challenge for President Biden and Congressional Democrats. Only 31 percent of Americans said they approved of Mr Biden’s approach to inflation; support was muted, even among Democrats, only 58 percent of whom said they approved of Mr Biden’s approach, and only 15 percent of them “strong.”
Survey respondents were equally critical of the Federal Reserve’s approach, which has begun aggressively raising interest rates in an effort to curb inflation. Only 30 percent of Americans said they approve of the Fed’s handling of the issue.
Until recently, inflation concerns were offset, at least to some extent, by a strong labor market, which allowed workers to push for higher wages and benefits. But there are hints that can change. 47 percent of adults in June said they thought it was a good time to look for a job, up from 60 percent in April. And nearly half of respondents said they thought the US economy was in recession.
About the survey: The data in this article comes from an online survey of 5,342 adults conducted by the polling agency Momentive from June 13 to June 19. The company randomly selected respondents from the more than two million people who each take surveys on its platform. day. Responses were weighted to match the demographic profile of the United States population. The survey has a modeled estimate of error (similar to a margin of error in a standard telephone poll) of plus or minus 2 percentage points, so differences less than that amount are not statistically significant.