Most Americans Still Down On Economic Prospects

Equipment Leasing Provider On The Economy

LeaseQ, one of the leading providers of commercial fitness equipment leasing in the United States, is keeping a sharp eye on economic indicators as we work our way through the first quarter of 2013, and many of the initial results are of some concern.

Despite a much touted economic recovery that is going into its fourth year, many Americans are still deeply concerned about the future, with the common wisdom being that it will take a good amount of time, perhaps a decade or more, before things return to their pre recession status.  This according to a poll released last week.

The Rutgers University survey depicts a nation that has been gravely wounded by the recession, with scars that will adversely affect the future expectations for many.  One in four respondents said that they had been laid off in the last four years, with larger numbers saying that close family and friends had last their careers.

In addition, most who found new jobs were forced to settle for much less, not just a step down in status from previous jobs but also a corresponding cut in pay. Many of these pay cuts were severe, on the order of 30 percent.

While the economy has managed to recover roughly half of the 9 million jobs that were lost during the recession, most Americans now view elements such as 8% unemployment and $4 gallon gas as a “new normal”. Less than one in five people surveyed believe that careers and opportunities will improve for the next generation, and that the ability of young people to afford college has been seriously curtailed.  Fewer workers are feeling as secure in their profession as they once did, and it is believed that almost half of the elderly in the country will be forced to find part time work after retirement. A whopping 86% of Americans believe that the era of good jobs and good pay is over, at least for the foreseeable future.

“We have had many months straight of private-sector job growth. Yet people are stuck with this attitude and perception,” said Carl Van Horn, director of the Heldrich Center. “It speaks to how powerful, widespread and enduring this Great Recession is.”

Prospects For The Future

The recent recession has emasculated nearly 40% of American’s wealth, pushing the unemployment rate to 10%.  The rate now stands at 7.9%, and jobs have been added for about three years straight. The stock market shows renewed signs of life, and housing values are finally on the way back up across the country.

Still there is significant damage to be dealt with. Nearly 5 million workers have been out of work for longer than six months, wages are down, and most of the new jobs being created are at the lower end of the wage scale. Many Americans do not expect major improvement, with 61 percent expecting their family finances to remain at their current diminished levels.  There is also a high degree of skepticism about Washington’s ability to improve the situation in any meaningful way.

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