More than half of Americans (55%) describe the U.S. economy as being in a recession or depression, even as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) reports that “the economic recovery is proceeding at a moderate pace.” Another 16% of Americans say the economy is “slowing down,” and only 27% believe it is growing.
While most Americans seem to disagree with the FOMC’s characterization of the economy, their current assessment is better than that of September 2008 — during the height of the financial crisis — when 69% said the economy was in a recession or depression. On the other hand, current attitudes are more downbeat, overall, than they were in early February 2008, when 45% considered the economy to be in either a recession or a depression. However, Americans are much more likely today to perceive the economy as growing rather than slowing down.
Democrats Give Better Ratings Than Republicans and Tea Party Supporters
Forty-two percent of Democrats say the economy is growing — essentially the same as the 43% from that party who say the economy is in a recession or depression. Democrats are much more positive on the economy than their Republican counterparts, 68% of whom describe the economy as in recession or depression, while 14% say it is growing. Tea Party supporters’ ratings are similar to Republicans’, and independents’ ratings are about midway between those from the two major parties.
Nearly One-Third of Upper-Income Americans Say Economy Is Growing
Fifty-two percent of upper-income Americans say the economy is in a recession or depression and 31% think it is growing. These ratings, though not good, are better than lower-income Americans’ ratings: 65% of this group says the economy is in a recession or depression and 21% say it is growing.