Most Americans pessimistic about economy, survey finds

  • There's growing "economic pessimism" in the United States, one poll found
  • Inflation is easing but still high, with housing, health care prices rising
  • NewsNation business contributor Lydia Moynihan says people feel "hopeless"

(NewsNation) — A majority of Americans polled showed pervasive pessimism about the U.S.’s current financial state — and growing skepticism that things will improve in the future.

Four in five people surveyed in a new Wall Street Journal-NORC Poll said the economy is doing “not so good” or “poor.” Nearly half, according to the Wall Street Journal, expect it will get worse in the next year.

Most of these answers, the WSJ wrote, were recorded even before the second-largest bank collapse in U.S. history. NORC, a nonpartisan research organization at the University of Chicago, asked 1,019 adults from March 1 to 13. About 4 in 10 of them said health care and housing costs were big worries. Two-thirds of those polled cited inflation as a major concern as well.

Inflation has been easing, but remains high at 6%. That’s well above the Federal Reserve’s annual inflation target of 2%.

“It’s a very sobering study,” NewsNation business contributor Lydia Moynihan said on “Morning in America.”

While there’s a “potpourri” of factors leading to American’s pessimism, a big piece is people’s changing views on the benefits of a college degree, she said. Over half of the poll’s respondents said a four-year college degree wasn’t worth it, because people graduate without specific job skills while accruing heavy debt.

“People used to believe (if) they go to college, there was a clear path to getting a high-paying job, getting a house, being able to afford a certain lifestyle,” Moynihan explained. 

But now, “It feels like a bait and switch,” she said, where people go to college and become “massively” in debt, or they’re “just not making as much money” as they should. 

“I think there’s a feeling of hopelessness among a lot of people,” Moynihan said.

One of the only economic factors that people felt optimistic about, the poll showed, was the job market. A report showed America’s employers added a substantial 311,000 jobs in February, after adding more than 500,000 in January.


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