Americans Assess the National Economy and their Personal Finances

Since hitting the lowest point in mid-2009, ratings of the national and local economies have seen fitful improvement. Americans (32% very good/somewhat good) are in the lower to middle of the pack in assessing the current economic situation in their country among the 24 countries studied. This measure has improved over the last couple months.

Ratings of personal finances – and of optimism about personal finances – have been flatter since tracking began in early 2010. Men and upper income households lead in assessing their personal finances. Expectations for improvement in personal finances do not vary much by age or income, while the young tend to be a bit higher than the middle-aged or older.

Perceptions about the direction of the country had also been steadily increasing, but show a decline this month. This is likely related to the end of President Obama’s post-election ‘honeymoon’, which is a normal political cycle that politicians go through post-election. The advent of sequestration has depressed US public optimism about the ability of the parties to work together – and about the direction of the country more generally.

Public Perspectives is a monthly subscription report produced by U.S. Public Affairs which features Americans’ assessment of their national and local economies, their personal finances and their issue concerns. Data for this report were taken from Ipsos Global @dvisor, a survey conducted monthly in 24 countries around the world via Ipsos’ Online Panel system. To learn more about Ipsos Global @dvisor, please click here.