1 in 3 Americans Expects Economic Improvement

March 2, 2011

harris-economy-expectations-mar-2011.JPGLooking ahead, one-third of Americans (34%) say they expect the economy to improve in the coming year, one-quarter (25%) say they expect it to get worse and two in five (42%) say they expect it to stay the same, according to results of a new Harris Poll. This is an improvement from December 2010, just three in 10 (29%) said they expected the economy to improve in the coming year, while 45% thought it would stay the same and one-quarter (26%) said it would get worse.

Expectations Tie Highest Optimism Since May ’10

Overall, American economic expectations are about the same as they were in November 2010, which marked the most optimism that had been recorded since May 2010, when 38% said they expected the economy to improve in the coming year. The highest reading since May 2009 occurred in August 2009, when 46% of poll respondents expressed this opinion.

6 in 10 See Bad Regional Job Market

harris-current-job-market-mar-2011.JPGOverall, six in 10 (61%) Americans say their regional job market is bad, with 24% saying it is neither good nor bad and only 15% saying it is good. Residents of the East are substantially more optimistic than residents of other regions.

Twenty-four percent of Easterners say their job market is good, 60% higher than the national average. And 51% say it is bad, 16% lower than the national average. In contrast, only 7% of Westerners say their job market is good, 71% below the national average; while 71% say it is bad, 16% higher.

Residents of the Midwest and South had responses that tracked relatively close to national averages.

Future Job Market Optimism Doubles in 2 Years

harris-expectations-job-market-mar-2011.JPGIn one promising sign for the US job market, 31% of Americans said their regional job market will improve in the next six months, double the 15% who said this in January 2009. The same figure expressed this opinion in January 2011; the only other month since January 2009 where 30% or more of Americans said this was November 2010 (30%).

Meanwhile, only 18% of Americans expect their regional job market to get worse, down 63% from 49% who said so in January 2009. This figure is flat from January 2011. The next-lowest percentage of Americans expressing this opinion was recorded in June and November 2010 (21% each month).

Gallup: US Sees Jobs as Top Problem

Thirty-five percent of Americans name unemployment as the most important problem facing the US, according to results of a recent Gallup Poll. This is the highest percentage since the economic slowdown began in December 2007 and higher than at any point since October 1983 (41%). Unemployment is the most important problem for the second month in a row, with the economy ranking second and healthcare third.

About the Data: This Harris Poll was conducted online within the US between February 14 to 21, 2011 among 3,171 adults (aged 18 and older). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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