Most Americans Feel Left Behind by the Economic Recovery

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) depart after a House Democratic Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill, October 1, 2021, in Washington, DC. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Over two-thirds of Americans think their personal financial situation is not improving or getting worse and nearly 60 percent say the economy is weak, a survey released Monday showed.

Those results actually make Americans a bit more optimistic than the global average.

The Milken Institute and The Harris Poll today released their annual findings of an extensive global survey conducted in two phases from July 30 to September 9, 2021, among nearly 17,000 people across 27 countries.

The study found that 70 percent of people globally say the economy is weak. In the U.S., that figure is 59 percent. That’s an improvement from a year ago, when 74 percent globally and 67 percent of Americans said the economy was weak.

Globally, 77 percent said their personal financial situation was either unchanged or getting worse. In the U.S., 68 percent said their personal situation is getting worse or remaining the same.

China is far more positive. Just 14 percent describe the economy as weak, with 86 percent saying it is strong. Fifty-five percent say their personal financial situation is improving. A year ago, 25 percent chose weak.

Japan is on the other end. Just 12 percent describe the economy as strong and only four percent say that their personal financial situation is improving. A year ago, five percent said the economy was strong.

Public support for their government’s handling of the pandemic declined thirteen percentage points from 74 percent in 2020 to 61 percent today. Fifty-four percent say their country is on the wrong track.

Sixty nine percent of Americans say the country is less united or unchanged from before the pandemic, with just 31 percent saying it is more united. In China, 86 percent said their country was more united. In Japan, 87 percent said they were less united.

And many people believe the worst of the pandemic still lies ahead. Globally, 56 percent said the worst is yet to come. That figure rises to 61 percent for Americans and 91 percent for Japanese.  In China, just 18 percent say the worst is still ahead.

Seventy-nine percent of people globally fear another pandemic wave and 83 percent say they fear new variants.

More than three quarters (80 percent) fear a global recession is looming. And 64 percent of all employed citizens fear losing their job.


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