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Elections, Politics

Americans perceive economy to be very bad

Posted: July 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm   /   by

The American Enterprise Institute posted this handy chart today showing a gap between what voters expect from the U.S. economy and where the fundamentals are sitting right now.  This has all been said before:  people have less money to spend and jobs are still hard to find.  But this analysis goes a little deeper, giving the average for a handful of stats for incumbent presidents who won or lost.

Indeed, the economy has continued to stall out, with unemployment rates rising in 27 out of 50 states in June.

Three years since the recession ended, 43 states have yet to regain the jobs they lost in the downturn. The figure is a reminder of how weak the nation’s job market remains. The states that are the furthest behind in job growth are those that were hit hardest by the housing bust: Arizona, Florida and Nevada.

Overall, the U.S. economy has 3.5 percent fewer jobs than it did before the Great Recession, which began in December 2007. The national unemployment rate has been stuck at 8.2 percent. Economists at IHS Global Insight, a consulting firm, estimate that 8 states won’t return to their pre-recession peak employment levels until 2016 or later.

Americans are used to an economy that can provide huge leaps in growth, productivity, income, and every other metric of prosperity during most years.  With incomes shrinking and unemployment still off the charts, this election is likely to become a referendum on the incumbent’s performance.  Millions of dollars in negative TV ads have been unable to truly change voters’ minds about Mitt Romney.  It could be that they are willing to overlook his business decisions and stunted speech delivery when the alternative is four more years of stagnation or decline.

Hannah Thoreson

Hannah Thoreson is a science and technology writer based in northern Virginia. She earned a physics degree from Arizona State University in 2012 and has been causing trouble ever since.

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Americans perceive economy to be very bad