Monday, December 19, 2011

Americans Worry Most about Economy, Jobs

Americans name the economy and unemployment/jobs as the most important problems facing the nation, as they have all year, according to July 2011 Gallup data. The deficit comes in third as the top problem, followed by dissatisfaction with government in general, healthcare, and concerns about wars.

While the percentages of Americans naming the economy (31%) and jobs (27%) as the top problem are similar, there is a steep dropoff in the percentage naming the deficit (16%), which is roughly half the percentage naming the economy and only about 60% as many as are naming the deficit.

Top 3 Problems Remain Consistent Since March
The economy, unemployment/jobs, and the federal deficit/debt are the top three specific problems Americans have mentioned since March 2011, although to varying degrees. The current 16% mention of the deficit/debt is up slightly from May and June, but essentially the same as April’s 17%.
Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans naming jobs as the top problem has been on the rise since the recent low point of 19% April, rising 42% to 27% in July, and is back to where it was in March.

Gas, Healthcare Concern Fewer

The percentage of Americans mentioning gas prices as the top problem peaked at a relatively low 8% in May, despite the rise in gas prices this year to $4 a gallon or more in some places. In June 2008, when gas prices also spiked, the percentage mentioning them as the top problem rose to 25%.

Mentions of healthcare have been lower during the last five months, remaining in the single digits, after reaching 16% in February. Mentions of dissatisfaction with government have been slightly lower in the past three months than earlier this year.

Almost 9 in 10 Say Now Is Not Good Time to Find Quality Job
Americans’ emphasis on the economy and jobs as the top problem facing the nation is underscored by their responses to a separate monthly question from Gallup that asks if now is a “good time or a bad time to find a quality job.”

Ten percent of Americans in July say now is a good time to find a quality job, leaving 88% who say it is not, the highest since October 2010, and within two points of the all-time high of 90% reached several times in the last three years. Four years ago, in July 2007, 50% said it was not a good time to find a quality job, while 43% said it was.

Pew: Economic Expectations Worsen
Positive expectations regarding future economic conditions, which remained high even during the depths of the recession, have declined and now stand at their lowest point since mid-2008, according to June 2011 data from the Pew Research Center. Twenty-nine percent of US adults expect that economic conditions will be better a year from now while 23% say things will be worse, the respective lowest and highest percentages giving these answers since July 2008 (30% and 21%).

About the Data: Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted July 7-10, 2011, with a random sample of 1,016 national adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

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