Americans positively view banks despite many having financial problems and little luck finding jobs



Americans have a positive view of the banking and real estate industries for the first time since before the onset of the "Great Recession" despite a majority of them "falling behind financially," two new polls have revealed.

Positive perceptions of financial firms outweigh negative views by a margin of 12 percent, according to Gallup. This surprising development came as the Pew Research Center revealed in a separate poll that 56 percent of Americans are having financial difficulties and 58 percent can't find jobs where they live.

The seemingly divergent poll results show the recovery hasn't been evenly distributed across the country. Only one-third of Americans feel jobs are plentiful where they live.

Unemployment numbers released Friday paint an even grimmer picture. Only 142,000 non-farm jobs were added in August, officials announced, the lowest number in eight months. Experts expected hires to increase by about 225,000.

June and July numbers were further revised downward by 28,000 and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent as even more people dropped completely out of the workforce.

Pew did not break results down by region, but a recent report detailing the U.S. cities with the 20 lowest unemployment rates showed them to be mostly in the middle of the country.

Though still a majority, the number of people having difficulty finding jobs has significantly dropped since hitting a high of 85 percent in 2010. This steady improvement comes as even public perception of the real estate industry has begun to recover.

The average American also now has a positive view of the real estate sector – albeit by only a margin of eight percent. This marks the first time since 2006 that both real estate and finance have been viewed favorably, according to the Gallup.

Both have steadily climbed the public perception ladder since reaching lows during the depths of the recession.

Real estate bottomed out in 2008, when 40 percent of Americans saw the business negatively, according to Gallup. Banking's low came in 2011, when it the bears outweighed the bulls by a margin of 29 percent.

The housing market's drop began in earnest in 2004, after it hit a high positive margin of 35 percent. Banking continued to climb until hitting a high positive margin of 39 percent, but both numbers dropped off a cliff as the economic downturn began to take hold.

It is believed by most experts that reckless lending in the housing market brought on the recession. Both sectors' close ties to the bubble and it's collapse likely led to the sharp decline in positive public perception.

The recent recovery, though modest, likely brought back the good feelings of old - but not everyone is feeling the good vibrations. Only 21 percent of Americans told Pew they feel the economy is in "excellent or good shape."

Two-thirds of Americans feel the economy is recovering, "but not so strongly," according to Pew. Another 24 percent feel there has been no recovery. Only 22 percent feel economic conditions in the country will improve over the next year, the poll found.

The pollster also found that only 42 percent of Americans feel they are in "excellent or good" financial shape. One-fifth of Americans say they are in "poor shape."

How do you feel about the economy and the financial industry? Tell us in the comments and take our poll.

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