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Americans See Little Recovery Five Years Later


The majority of Americans have a negative view on the country's economy, feeling like the system is no more secure today than it was five years ago before the market crash.

The majority of Americans have a negative view on the country’s economy, feeling like the system is no more secure today than it was five years ago before the market crash.

A survey of the Pew Research Center of 1,500 adults found that 63% say the economic system is no more secure. Furthermore, more people believe that the economic policies resulting from the financial crisis have benefitted large banks (69%), corporations (67%) and the rich (59%) more than the middle-class (71%), the poor (72%) or small businesses (67%).

And yet the public is divided over federal regulation of markets and financial institutions with 49% saying that regulations haven’t gone far enough and 43% think regulation has gone too far. The former leaves the country at risk of another crisis and the latter is making it difficult for the economy to grow.

Unsurprisingly the there are partisan differences. By two-to-one more Republicans say government regulations have gone too far, which just 26% of Democrats agree with. Meanwhile, Independents are divided with 51% saying regulations haven’t gone far enough and 41% saying they went too far.

More than half (54%) say that household incomes have hardly recovered at all from the recession. Strangely, just 21% say the stock market has fully recovered despite the fact that the Dow hit record highs months ago. Although respondents did view the stock market as having rebounded the most from the recession.

According to Pew, college graduates are more likely than those with less education to see recovery across all four sectors: stock market, real estate values, job situation and household income.

Jobs remain the top worry, with 40% saying the situation is the most worrying national economic issue. And that worry has increased eight points since March. Across income levels and partisan groups, Americans say the job situation is the top economic worry.

Only 19% rate the economy as excellent or good while half (48%) say conditions are only fair and a third says the economy as poor. However, perceptions have improved over this year. In January, half said the economy was poor.

According to Pew, economic optimism has significantly outweighed pessimism throughout most of President Obama’s time in office, but right now it’s close: 28% expect the economy to get better and 25% expect it to get worse in the coming year.

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