CNBC Survey: Feeling Better, but Still Leery About the Economy
A third of the public believes that gasoline prices will remain elevated for longer than four years and expectations for price increases of everyday goods are at their highest level in a year, an inflationary concern that echoes survey from last year during a similar gasoline price spike.
Overall, the survey presents a picture of an economy that is clawing its way back from the depths of the recession, but is far from out of the hole. For every positive statistic there is at least one counterpoint. For example, 29 percent of the public say their home is worth less than what they paid for it, up from 26 percent a year ago.
The improvement does not appear to be broad-based. For example, when it comes to wage gains, those earning $75,000 or more expect their paychecks to rise by 4.1 percent in the next year. Those earning less than $75,000 expect an increase of just 1.1 percent.
In another example, 41 percent of Americans earning more than $100,000 annually expect the economy to improve, but just 32 percent of those earning less than $30,000 share that optimism. Still, during the economy’s worst days, there was not even much optimism among the wealthy.
As the All-America Economic Survey has uniquely shown over the past several years, housing remains the key to the economic outlook. No group in the survey is more optimistic than the cross-section of Americans who believe their home prices will go up; no group is more pessimistic on the economy than those predicting their home prices will fall.
Steve Liesman on Twitter: @steveliesman