Americans don't like government. But for the first time in a long while, it's not the most hated industry in the country. That honor now belongs to the oil and gas industry, what with climbing prices at the pumps and the BP oil spill still fresh in many people's minds.
A new poll conducted by Gallup asked thousands of Americans how they feel about 25 of the nation's largest industries -- positive, neutral or negative. Perhaps not surprisingly, the most popular industries are those that involve discretionary spending. The four with the most positive response -- the Internet, restaurants, retail and computers -- are all things Americans use primarily for leisure.
Conversely, the industries people dislike the most are the ones they can't do without -- banking, oil and gas, and the pharmaceutical industry.
Banking saw the biggest increase in negative image since the survey was first conducted, with 23% responding negatively in 2001, compared with 53% in 2012. Healthcare, on the other hand, saw an uptick in positive perception, from 27% in 2011 to 42% in 2012, the biggest improvement in positive opinion in the country.
Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of Gallup, pointed to negative feelings about the subprime mortgage crisis as the likely reason for the shift in attitude toward banking and real estate, though he was quick to add that real estate agents shouldn't take it personally. "We're not thinking about our local Remax estate agent who's a nice person. We're think about the big repackagers of mortgages and subprime mortgages, and how those have all gone wrong."
To rank the most hated industries, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 private sector industries with the most overall negative views among the 25 industries Gallup included in its annual Work and Education survey. We also reviewed the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI), which employs a multiequation econometric model to score industries on a 0-100 scale.
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