Americans have been getting steadily more pessimistic about the economy over the past five years.
It can get tiresome to keep talking about how bad the economy is, how it’s changed permanently, and not for the better. But even as there are signs of economic expansion, pessimism is the prevailing wind of the day, and a survey released last week by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University drives home just how deep the gloom runs.
The researchers at Rutgers, who’ve been surveying Americans since the late 1990s, talked to a cross-section of 1,153 people between July 24 and Aug. 3, and the results show that Americans are very discouraged about the economy.
The whole report is worth skimming, but here are a few nuggets:
1. A growing supermajority of Americans believes the recession permanently altered the economy.
71 percent of respondents said this summer that the Great Recession left us with permanent economic change. The share of people who say that has been growing steadily and now they represent a national consensus.
2. People believe the changes to the economy and labor market are negative -- and pretty much across the board.
Three in five Americans think college affordability will never return to the way it was before the recession, 53 percent believe job security is a thing of the past, and 40 percent believe the level of good jobs at good pay will not return to pre-recession levels.
3. People are growing more pessimistic, not less, about opportunities for the next generation of Americans.
In the latest survey, only 16 percent said job, career and employment opportunities will be better for the next generation than for their generation. That’s the worst reading since they started doing the survey in the 1990s, when up to 56 percent of respondents believed opportunities would be better for the next generation.