Americans are feeling more secure about their own finances with stock and home values rising, even as a growing number say the country is headed down the wrong track, according to a Bloomberg National Poll.
People are more upbeat about a range of financial issues -- job security, retirement savings, home values and household income -- than they were in February, the last time Bloomberg asked the question. Eight measures of financial well-being surveyed show increasing optimism among poll respondents.
“The economy is doing a lot better,” Nancy Bush, 56, of San Francisco, said in a follow-up interview. “I feel very encouraged, and maybe it’s just a gut feeling, but I think we’ve made it through a four- or five-year recovery.”
Four years to the month after the deepest recession since the 1930s ended, many Americans agree, according to the poll, taken May 31-June 3. Large majorities say they don’t expect to draw down their savings or borrow money this year to help make ends meet.
“It’s been a tough four or five years,” says Holly Daniel, 58, owner with her husband of a sheet metal shop in Durango, Colorado. “But we’re seeing an uptick in business, which is very exciting.”
Daniel says this is “the first time in six years, since the housing bubble burst” that she and her husband are in good shape financially. After seeing their annual disposable income drop to less than $20,000 from $50,000, they’ve recovered.
Poll respondents are less sanguine about the national outlook. Asked about events in the U.S., 60 percent say the country is on the wrong track, while just 32 percent say things are headed in the right direction.
That’s the highest percentage saying “wrong track” since September and it comes amid continued concern about such issues as health-care costs and the national debt, even though the U.S. deficit so far this fiscal year is one-third smaller than during the same period last year.
“When you’re ignoring the debt and not addressing employment, then you’re on the wrong track,” says Joseph Lamancusa, 52, a neurologist in Findlay, Ohio. “All discussion should be about jobs and nothing about illegal immigration.”