Americans are pessimistic about the economy. Only 21 percent of adults said their finances were better than a year ago, according to a survey published Tuesday – down from 26 percent when asked a year earlier, although the economy in most goals had improved significantly over the course of the year. of it. period. The survey of 5,365 adults was conducted last month for The New York Times by Momentive, the online research firm formerly known as SurveyMonkey.
Overall consumer confidence is at the lowest level in the almost five years Momentive has conducted its survey. Republicans have been particularly pessimistic about the economy since President Biden took office a year ago, but in recent months Democrats have also become tougher. Other studies have found similar results.
Inflation seems to be a major cause of people’s dark vision. Nearly nine out of ten Americans say they are at least “somewhat worried” about inflation, and six out of ten are “very worried,” the survey found. Concerns about cross-generational inflation, racial and even party political lines: 95 percent of Republicans, 88 percent of independents and 82 percent of Democrats say they are concerned.
“Pretty much the only group of people who say they’re better off now than they were a year ago are people who’ve got a pay rise that matches or beats inflation,” said Laura Wronski, a researcher at Momentive.
There are not many of them. Only 17 percent of workers say they have received increases that have kept pace with inflation over the past year. Most of the others say either that they have received increases that have been after the price increase or that they have not received any increase at all; 8 percent of those surveyed said they had taken pay cuts.
Public data similarly show that overall prices have risen faster than wages in recent months: the consumer price index rose by 6.8 per cent in November, the highest in almost four decades; average hourly earnings rose 4.8 per cent in November, and other targets also show wage gains that are behind price increases.
Nevertheless, some workers are seeing much faster wage growth. The hourly wage for leisure and catering workers was up 12.3 per cent in November, much faster than inflation. Workers in other low-wage service sectors also see big gains.