Survey: Americans' Pessimism Over Economy Rises

George washington lurking behind paper dollar money.

WASHINGTON -- 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 (^GPSC) 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.

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It is difficult to be positive when the moron in the white house drives away business with onerous regulations and tax rates the highest in the industrial world. We graduate and subsidize tens of thousands of young people annually who have degrees in subjects qualifying them to do little more than being a greeter at a local supermarket. In fact, many of our graduates don't know English well enough to do more. Obama and his minions should go back to the university and continue to pollute the minds of our young.

August 29 2014 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

110 MILLION are on some type of welfare payment in this country. 1/3 of all Americans are getting some type of payment from the government. Thanks, Obama, you've achieved your goal of destroying the thought of achieving success and keeping the dominant voting party in handouts.

August 29 2014 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's a shame our ancestors who built this America aren't given the credit.

August 29 2014 at 9:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Stock market gains hardly ever bring any gains to the average wage earner, but does well for people that have enough money left over after bills are paid, to invest. It's a shaky adventure.
The unemployment rate is every bit as bad as when Obama took office the first time, but thru "clever financial" mumbo jumbo, they make it look better than it is. Part timers are the only new hires, and they should not be counted as "employed", in the ususal terminology.

August 29 2014 at 9:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ddstan1120's comment

They need to count anyone unemployed if they can't get a job.

August 29 2014 at 9:44 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Most economists are nothing more than propaganda outlets who twist information to sell their views...

The unemployment rate is not fact... It is a survey of 50,000 homes and a look at how many people are receiving unemployment benefits. Since the government will cut you off from unemployment benefits after a while, that does not mean those people found suitable work. It means they are simply not getting government assistance anymore.

If the unemployment surveys called up nothing but homes that were worth $250,000 and asked them if they knew of anyone out of work but looking for a job, then the unemployment rate would be 1% because all those people socialize and live among the upper middle classes..... If the survey takers decided to call up nothing but housing projects, then the unemployment rate would be around 80%.. So it is all manipulated BS....

I am an economist and I know the games they play.. They ignore statistics all the time.. like Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).... China has begun to cut off FDI to America, and China invests more in the US than the US invests in China.

The business cycle is supposed to last anywhere from 5 to 7 years after the bottom of the trough in a recession... Our last recession bottomed out in spring of 2009 and the recovery began in Sept of that year. So we are now a full 5 years into the booming part of the business cycle, yet people are not living high like they should be. Wages have been frozen or reduced for the last 25 years.

In the 1990's, American economists and other leaders said the nation is going to need to switch from a manufacturing economy to a service based economy in order to survive... Still waiting for that to happen.

Just like how Europe stole Asia's trade secrets and began manufacturing for themselves in the 1700's, America stole Europe's manufacturing in the 1800's. Now China and other emerging economies have stolen America's markets with cheap labor and low tax rates to become the go-to manufacturing sovereignty.

The one who manufactures for the world, owns the world. At this time, America is living off of it's savings. American companies have only begun to cut back on R&D or that will be their last straw in trying to stay ahead of the competition from Asia. But, in the end, China will reverse engineer for a fraction of the cost of R&D and keep nipping at the heals of the declining American companies till the American companies fall... The weak American companies are already starting to fall. China is either buying them out or tearing them down with competition as China runs with less overhead for things like utilities, licenses, labor, and regulation. The American EPA is destructive to every manufacturer. The USDA makes our food twice as expensive because inspectors make $60 an hour. Etc.. Etc...

Things are only going to keep getting worse. By this time in the business cycle, people should be swimming in money and working overtime.

August 29 2014 at 1:11 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to socioeconomist1's comment

The government is full of stooges too... Politicians go to the CEO of a company and ask what they can do to better the country... Some CEOs say train workers. Other CEOs say give us tax breaks. Even other CEOs will say workers need to be more educated in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.... Those CEOs that say invest in children for STEM are the corporations getting their butts stomped by the Chinese and trying to stay ahead with R&D...

But, your government is full of clowns that have no idea how to run a country or compete with China.. I do, but they don't...

So, kiss America's economic title belt goodbye... The boomers screwed us by trying to fix what wasn't broken for the last 40 years.

August 29 2014 at 1:16 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

An economist? You've said over and over you retired at 25....after building houses in your early 20's.

August 29 2014 at 1:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A friend commented to me that the 'forefathers' were wealthy British land owners with slaves. The slaves were replaced by an immigration system to continue to supply cheap labor. Then the 'feminist' movement which promised women liberation from the kitchen if they went to work. This provided the wealthy and their corporations million more cheap labor at the time. This is a capitalist society disguised a democracy. Simple as that. All you have to do is start a business. It's the land of opportunity. If you think its anything else, you'll always be disappointed. The system works, at least up to this point. It remains to be seen if greed will destroy it.

August 29 2014 at 12:42 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to larrito's comment

Explain why capitalism and democracy can't coexist?

August 29 2014 at 12:56 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gee.effwye's comment

They can't because it's no longer capitalism it has turned in to crapalism!

August 29 2014 at 10:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

A common stooge can't start a business and be successful.... do a google search on one of the State of IL's auditors to see how things work..

type into a google search:

Gary Shadid property taxes

Gary Shadid is the cousin of Federal Judge Jim Shadid and nephew of former representative George Shadid. They both go to the same church as 2008-2012 US transportation secretary Ray LaHood. All from Peoria, IL. But, if you find the right story, you will see how Gary Shadid used his position in politics to lower the property taxes on a building for his CPA firm that he is a partner in.

A common regular person in America that doesn't have friends in local, state, or federal government is going to get taxed and made to conform to all the rules. While those with connections won't be required to pay for the same regulations... The government will show no tolerance and waive no fees or fines for a normal person, while the connected will only be warned for any problems.

Rich people also don't get charged for the same crimes. The President of Brewers Distributing in Peoria, IL shot up his neighbor's house while high and drunk with a .280 rifle before he went to college but was an adult in his early 20's. Not only did he never see a day in jail, his record was wiped clean after 6 months of court supervision and he was given his guns back and allowed to keep his FOID card and go hunting that winter. Someone else would have gone to prison for the minimum 5 years for reckless conduct with a firearm, endangering people's lives and had no right to own firearms for life as a convicted felon. Paul Jacob is a real threat to society, not only for his drunk driving but his shooting up the neighbors house with his gun. He missed killing the lady by 18 inches.

This is how America works... Big business, judges, mayors, councilmen, etc all hang out after work together and help each other out. Watch the TV show "Undercover Boss" in the episode where the mayor of Cincinnati goes undercover... At the end of the show, he openly states that one of his friends in the corporate world donates money to one of the city workers for them to be awarded cash on the show. Those city workers are union and overpaid.. But, the mayor proves on national TV that he has friends in the corporate world and they will give him money if he needs a favor. What do you think the mayor of Cincinnati is doing for them to get business owners to give away free money to overpaid union workers ? Think his friends in the corporate world will get the next city contract even though they weren't the lowest bidder ?... Think the city inspector is going to be told not to bother with the mayor's friend who is polluting too much into the water system ?

These people like the mayor of Cincinnati are so used to getting away with it, that they will confess what they are doing on national TV and everyone is too stupid to notice. But, that is how it works. You are either in or you are used.

August 29 2014 at 1:31 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to socioeconomist1's comment

Do you think the mayor of Cincinnati is asking his friends in the corporate world to give his relatives preference for a job while others who aren't related to the mayor are told to get lost ?

They threw IL Governor Blagoyavich or whatever name is in prison for trying to get his wife on the board of directors at a Children's hospital in Peoria, IL.

another IL governor George Ryan was taking bribes to award contractors state contracts.

They all do it.. But, it's a game you see..... The mayor of Cincinnati wasn't given money... The city's mechanic was given the money, but it was a favor to the mayor... The mayor will now be in debt to whoever wrote a check to the city's mechanic FOR the mayor. The mayor will owe that friend in the corporate world a favor... and I am sure it will be the kind of favor that financially benefits the friend who wrote the check.

It's like if I come to your house and give you $5000, then it is a crime... But, if I sit the cash down on the coffee table and leave the house, you still get the $5000 but I didn't give it to you. The transfer of cash still happened. You and I will both know what the money is for... But, if the cops are video taping it, all they can say is I forgot my money on the coffee table and NEVER came back to get it.

Don't fool yourselves.... 99% of either used to make rich people money or go serve in the military to make rich people money.

15 Saudi Arabians blow up the WTC, and our nation invades Iraq and Afghanistan. But, not Saudi Arabia... Explain that one without saying it was about the CIA taking over the heroin trade and the oil companies taking over control of Iraq's oil fields.

August 29 2014 at 1:41 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down

The coders must be staying late because most of the posts have been marked minus.

August 29 2014 at 12:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The statement "gee.effwye
What's your vision....further dislodging us from our.Constitution?"

Answer:..... have you read the Constitution, have you been to the Liberty Bell, to Independence Hall,
Let me jump in: My great.. grand father Joseph Wickham III's brother Thomas Wickham served in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Provincial Congresses. My people were there!

August 28 2014 at 11:45 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Iselin007's comment

Keep jumping.

August 29 2014 at 12:52 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

think its bad now ! Just wait till WWIII starts

August 28 2014 at 10:35 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SPQR's comment

Well at least anyone crossing the border or coming on a hb1 visa would be drafted during a third world war.

August 28 2014 at 11:27 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Iselin007's comment

Obama wants to issue 800,000 more.

August 29 2014 at 12:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

What capital investment? One cannot even dig a hole in America today unless there are 36 signatures from upteen departments of the goverment. The rest of the time? They play games on the Internet.

August 28 2014 at 10:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to coskun's comment

You know the line call " Call before you dig". It's no problem for the politicians to dig a deep whole for the middle class however because they won't ask you if you want unfair trade deals and a declining job oppotunities. They can't help but allow age discrimination and raise the retirement age when they know the job market is crap for older workers that lost their careers!

August 28 2014 at 11:21 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply