Record 69 percent holds negative views of US economy: survey

Nearly 7 in 10 adults hold a negative view of the U.S. economy as officials try to fight off inflation, according to a new survey.

The most recent CNBC All-America Economic Survey, which reviews perceptions of the economy and economic indicators every quarter, found 69 percent of respondents view the economy negatively presently and in the future, which is the highest level recorded in the poll’s 17-year history.

Two-thirds of those surveyed said their wages are falling behind the level of inflation, and two-thirds also said they believe the country is going to experience a recession or is already in one. Only a quarter said their household income is keeping up with inflation, and 5 percent said their income is exceeding inflation.

Pollsters found 62 percent said they disapprove of how President Biden is handling the economy, while only 34 percent said they approve. The 62 percent is an increase from the 57 percent who said they disapproved of his performance in CNBC’s last survey and is Biden’s second-worst review of his handling of the economy from the survey.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the ninth consecutive time last month to a baseline range of 4.75 percent to 5 percent. The Fed has taken aggressive steps to get inflation under control.

Inflation has been consistently dropping since last summer, dropping from 9.1 percent in June to 5 percent last month. But it is still considerably higher than the Fed’s target rate of 2 percent.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has indicated a willingness to take steps to get inflation down, but some economic experts have expressed concern they could lead to an economic downturn and possibly a recession.

But the economy has shown resilience, with unemployment dropping to 3.5 percent in March as the economy added 236,000 new jobs.

The survey also found 63 percent of respondents said they are not worried about losing their jobs, which is 5 points higher than what pollsters recorded in November. It also found 37 percent said they expect their wages to increase in the next year, which is slightly higher than average in recent years.

More than 80 percent said they are taking some action to adjust their spending habits in response to inflation — like spending less on entertainment, traveling less or using their savings to pay for expenses. A majority also said they are less likely to buy a car or home now because of higher interest rates.

The poll was conducted from April 6-8 and April 10-11 among 1,002 adults. The margin of error was 3.1 points.

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