As I've noted before and as many people have observed, this economic recovery is far, far from normal. Many aspects of the economy have not returned to pre-Great Recession levels and one has to wonder why this is the case, despite the fact that the Fed and other central banks around the world have used their complete arsenal of economic tools to battle the downturn.
A recent study by the Pew Research Center may explain why this is the case. In this study, Pew looks at the attitudes about the public in 39 nations to see how they feel about the state of the economy in their home nation. In a later posting, I will look at the response of all nations but for the purposes of today's posting, I will focus on the responses of Americans.
1.) Condition of the American Economy: In 2013, only 33 percent of Americans feel that their economy is in good shape, down from 50 percent in 2007. This is slightly above the median of 24 percent among all advanced economies but keep in mind that advanced economies include many European nations where things are slightly better than grim.
2.) Economic Outlook: Only 44 percent of Americans feel that the economy will improve over the next 12 months with 33 percent feeling that it will worsen. This is well above the 25 percent median among all developed economies and the highest among all advanced economies as shown here:
3.) Putting Food on the Table: Surprisingly, even though the U.S. has the highest GDP output on a per capita basis among all nations in the study, 24 percent of Americans had difficulty putting food on their tables in the last 12 months. This is comparable to the levels seen in Greece and Indonesia, nations with a far lower per capita output as shown on this graphic:
4.) Satisfaction With Country's Direction: Only 31 percent of Americans are satisfied with the direction that their country is taking, the sixth lowest level among the advanced economies and among the lowest of all economies as shown here:
Perhaps this explains why the recovery, particularly in the United States, has been so "spotty". The fact that only 33 percent of Americans expect that the economy will improve over the next year suggests that consumers and voters are far from happy about their current situation and future prospects.