One-third of Americans Expect Economy to Improve in Coming Year

Three in ten Americans expect better job market over next six months

Mar 01, 2011, 10:07 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- There may still be a great deal of uncertainty on where the job market is heading, but people seem to be feeling a little more positive overall on the economy. Looking 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. In December, just three in ten (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.

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These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 3,171 adults surveyed online between February 14 and 21, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

The one lagging indicator during the economic recovery has been jobs. And it is also lagging in the minds of Americans, but there are indications people are more optimistic, albeit slightly more. Currently, three in five U.S. adults (61%) rate the current job market in their region of the nation as bad, one-quarter (24%) rate it as neither good nor bad and 15% say it is good. Last month, almost two-thirds of Americans (65%) rated it as bad and 13% said it was good. While these numbers may not seem all that strong, they are the highest since July of 2008 when half of Americans (51%) said the job market was bad and three in ten (30%) said it was good.

Looking at this by region, there are some brighter spots. One-quarter of Easterners (24%) say the job market in their region is good and just half (51%) say it is bad. The South and the Midwest are in the middle with three in five saying the job market in their region is bad (60% and 59% respectively) while 17% of Southerners say it is good and 13% of Midwesterners saying that. The West seems to be the sore spot for jobs. Seven in ten Westerners (71%) say the job market in their region is bad while just 7% say it is good.

Looking ahead, half of Americans (51%) say the job market in their region of the nation will be the same in the next six months while three in ten (31%) say it will be better and one in five (18%) say it will be worse. This is virtually unchanged since January.

So What?

Perceptions on the economy always lag behind reality, especially when the reality is presented by economists. People wait until they feel more secure about their job, or the prospect of finding a new one, before they say the job market is solid again. A similar feeling holds for the overall economy – once people aren't thinking twice about spending money or dipping into savings, then there is a sense that the economy has improved. The American economy doesn't seem to be quite there yet, but there are very small encouraging signs it is headed that way.

TABLE 1

EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR - TREND

"In the coming year, do you expect the economy to...?"

Base: All adults



2009

2010

2011

April

May

Aug

Sept

Oct

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Feb

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

39

38

46

40

34

38

30

29

28

30

34

29

34

Stay the same

35

35

32

36

37

34

42

39

40

40

41

45

42

Get worse

26

27

22

24

29

28

28

32

32

30

25

26

25

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding




TABLE 2A

RATING OF CURRENT JOB MARKET - TREND

"How would you rate the current job market of your region of the nation?"

Base:  All adults



2008

2009

June

July

Jan

April

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

28

30

6

12

9

8

10

10

8

9

Neither good nor bad

18

19

18

20

19

21

22

20

18

19

BAD (NET)

53

51

76

68

72

71

68

70

73

72






2010

2011

Jan

Mar.

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

10

8

10

12

10

12

10

13

11

13

13

15

Neither good nor bad

20

18

21

20

25

22

21

21

23

24

22

24

BAD (NET)

70

73

70

68

66

66

69

66

66

63

65

61

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding




TABLE 2B

RATING OF CURRENT JOB MARKET IN YOUR REGION – BY REGION

"How would you rate the current job market of your region of the nation?"

Base:  All adults



Total

Region

East

Midwest

South

West

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

15

24

13

17

7

 Very good

4

13

2

1

1

 Somewhat good

12

11

11

16

7

Neither good nor bad

24

25

28

22

22

BAD (NET)

61

51

59

60

71

 Somewhat bad

38

36

35

38

42

 Very bad

23

16

25

22

28

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 3

EXPECTATIONS FOR JOB MARKET IN SIX MONTHS – TREND

"How do you think that the job market in your region of the
nation will change over the next 6 months?"

Base:  All adults



Jan 2009

April 2009

June 2009

August 2009

June 2010

Aug 2010

Sept 2010

Oct 2010

Nov 2010

Dec 2010

Jan 2011

Feb 2011

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

15

23

21

28

26

23

21

23

30

25

31

31

 Will be much better

1

3

2

2

1

2

2

3

2

2

4

4

 Will be somewhat better

14

20

19

26

25

21

19

20

28

23

26

27

Will remain the same

36

42

47

47

53

49

53

53

50

54

51

51

WORSE (NET)

49

36

32

25

21

27

26

24

21

22

18

18

 Will be somewhat worse

36

29

24

19

15

22

20

18

15

16

13

13

 Will be much worse

14

7

8

6

6

5

6

6

6

6

6

5

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding




Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between February 14 to 21, 2011 among 3,171 adults (aged 18 and over). 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.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J39370

Q715, 720, 725

The Harris Poll® #27, March 1, 2011

By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contact:

Corporate Communications

Harris Interactive

212-539-9600

press@harrisinteractive.net



SOURCE Harris Interactive



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