Survey: Americans Remain Pessimistic on Economy

Thursday, 07 Feb 2013 11:14 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Americans continue have little faith in the nation's economic future, a new survey reveals, with most thinking it will take several years for the economy to recover.

The survey was conducted by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, reports the Washington Post, and shows that despite some economic recovery over the past four years, people have reduced expectations and believe the economy has lowered to new normal levels.

“We have had many months straight of private-sector job growth. Yet people are stuck with this attitude and perception,” said Carl Van Horn, director of the Heldrich Center. “It speaks to how powerful, widespread and enduring this Great Recession is.”

The survey found that one-in-four people said they were laid off in the past four years, and even more said they have immediate family members or friends out of work.

In addition, about half of those who found new jobs had to settle for lower pay or status, with one-third saying they took reductions of more than 30 percent.

And even though the economy has recovered more than half the 9 million jobs lost in the recession, fewer than one in five polled believe jobs and careers will be better for the next generation. Three in five believe the ability for young people to afford college is permanently damaged, and two in five think workers won't feel as secure in their jobs.

Further, 86 percent said they don't believe good jobs will return for many years, if they ever do.

Those surveyed said Americans blame their economic problems on more than just the recession. Seven in 10 said the jobless rate is high because of foreign competition, four in 10 blamed illegal aliens for taking jobs from Americans, and another 40 percent say unemployment is high because Americans lack skills for available jobs.

There was strong support for policy proposals for the nation's labor market, with 80 percent wanting tax credits for companies hiring new workers. However, the survey found people are skeptical that Washington will be able to do much to improve the economy.

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