Economy Watch: Americans Still Edgy About Economy

Americans are a little more optimistic about the state and direction of the U.S. economy than they used to be, but not a lot.

economyAmericans are a little more optimistic about the state and direction of the U.S. economy than they used to be, but not a lot. That’s one of the main takeaways of the latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll, which was released on Thursday. Consumer attitudes are of critical importance in keeping the economy, and many parts of the commercial real estate market, healthy.

The poll found that 71 percent of respondents believe the U.S. economy will improve or stay the same during the next 12 months, while only a quarter (24 percent) think it will become worse. In rating the current state of the economy, 78 percent of Americans say it’s fair/poor, compared to 21 percent who believe it’s excellent/good. Even so, that’s an uptick from a September 2013 Heartland Monitor Poll, when only 11 percent believed the economy was excellent/good.

When asked about their own financial situation, which has a distinct impact on retailers, the number of Americans in January 2016 who reported their personal financial situation as excellent/good reached the highest rate since June 2013 (45 percent). But they’re somewhat outnumber by the number of who considered their personal financial situation as fair/poor (54 percent).

There’s also still lingering anxiety about the future of the respondents’ finances, the Heartland Monitor Poll found, though not quite as much as a few years ago. Adults who claimed they can live comfortably and save adequately for retirement increased by 10 percent since the recession. Even so, 46 percent of respondents still say they find it difficult to save and invest for retirement or any other purpose.

The poll was taken January 2-6, 2016. It was conducted among a national sample of 1,000 adults age 18 and over, with 500 reached via cell phone and 500 reached via landline.