A recent Gallup Poll found that 69% of Americans believe their financial situation will improve over the next year, that’s a 16 year high and only two percentage points off the all-time high of 71%.
This is no surprise as measures of economic success have improved almost universally in the last two years. Major contributions to the economic improvement have been deregulation and tax cuts, which have allowed American corporations to increase earnings, hiring, pay, and investment.
Gallup’s Jim Norman reports:
The 69% saying they expect to be better off is only two percentage points below the all-time high of 71%, recorded in March 1998 at a time when the nation’s economic boom was producing strong economic growth combined with the lowest inflation and unemployment rates in decades.
Americans are typically less positive about how their finances have changed over the past year than about where they’re headed, and that remains the case. Fifty percent say they are better off today than they were a year ago. That 50% still represents a post-recession milestone — the first time since 2007 that at least half of the public has said they are financially better off than a year ago.
Ten years ago, as the Great Recession neared its end, the percentage saying their finances had improved from the previous year was at a record low of 23%. More than half the public, 54%, said they were worse off. Now, with unemployment below 1998 levels and the job market growing steadily, the number saying they are worse off than a year ago has dropped to 26%, the lowest level since October 2000.
Only 11 times in 109 polls stretching back to 1976 have at least half of those polled said they were in better financial shape than they had been a year prior. Only once in 114 polls going back to 1977 have Americans been more optimistic about their personal finances in the coming year than they are today.
In every one of the 105 Gallup polls since 1977 that asked both questions, more Americans were optimistic about their future finances than said their current finances had improved versus a year prior. On average in those 105 polls, 56% have expected to be better off in the next year, while 39% have believed they were better off than they had been the previous year. For both questions, a substantial percentage of the public volunteered a response of “the same” — indicating either that their finances had not changed in the past year or that they did not expect them to change in the coming year.
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