What Recovery? Most Americans See Worse Times Ahead

Family finances, woman paying bills
Family finances, woman paying bills

Though the U.S. economy by most measures is improving, a majority of Americans remain wary, fearful that the worst is yet to come, a new poll shows.

The nationwide survey, conducted by Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., showed that 53% of those polled think the U.S. will see more economic hardship ahead. Eight percent were unsure, while 39% felt the worst of the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis had come and gone.

"The public clearly does not think we've turned the economic corner," said Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, in a statement releasing the survey's findings. "Their frustration over financial matters continues."

Poor Prospects for Household Finances

Americans' dismal view of the economy was bolstered by findings that show 79% think the nation is in recession. A small number, 2%, were unsure, while only 18% said they didn't believe the U.S. was still enduring an economic downturn.

The new poll, conducted during the first week of December, showed little change from a similar survey last month. Results then showed that 51% said the worst was ahead, while 45% thought they had passed. At that time, 5% were unsure.

Just as telling were perceptions of Americans' own personal finances. A majority -- 52% -- said they expected their household finances to remain static during the coming year, while nearly three in 10 anticipated their family finances will get better. Nineteen percent foresaw them worsening.

Sponsored Links

Those findings are little changed from September, when the same question revealed that 52% of poll respondents believed their household finances would remain the same, 30% thought they would improve and 18% expected their finances to worsen, Marist noted.

Not surprisingly, Americans who thought the worst of the nation's economic problems are over were more optimistic than were those who believed the worst is yet to come. Among those who are more positive, the poll found, 44% expected their family finances to improve.

However, just 18% of those who said the worst of the country's economic conditions are yet to come believed their money matters will get better.

The telephone survey, which interviewed 1,029 adults, has an error rate of plus or minus 3%.