In September, Gallup reported that American investors were more optimistic than they have been since the fall of 2007, but according to a recent survey done by CNN and ORC International, only 38 percent of Americans are even somewhat optimistic about the economy.
Compared with developing countries, Americans are just plain pessimistic when it comes to the economy. According to a survey by Pew Research Center, “Most of those surveyed in richer nations think children in their country will be worse off financially than their parents,” while half in emerging and developing countries think their kids will do better.
In the CNN poll of just over 1,000 Americans, 62 percent said they thought the economic conditions were poor, but about half of the participants thought the economy would be doing pretty well in a year’s time.
These economic concerns persist across party lines as well. In a Gallup survey last month, Democrats said that “the availability of good jobs” was the top issue that would influence their congressional vote this year. Republicans, on the other hand, put the economy at the top of the list. But both issues were among the top three concerns for both parties.
In light of this cynical view of the American economy, you’d think that college graduates would have a difficult time finding a job. But, according to a study from Michigan State University, it’s a great time to be a graduate. Its press release says, “Employers are recruiting new college graduates at levels not seen since the dot-com frenzy of 1999-2000.”
Of the over 5,000 employers in the study, 97 percent said they planned to hire newly minted graduates during 2014-15, when only 84 percent had in 2013-14. But that doesn’t mean all graduates have a reason to smile. Employers will hire more with new undergraduate degrees than ever, but less with master’s and Ph.D.s.
This doesn’t mean that college is a slam-dunk fix to the economy, even if 60 percent of global participants ranked “a good education” as very important to “getting ahead” in the Pew study. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics show that only 30 percent of U.S. college students graduate in six years, and most that do are from the upper class, according to the Washington Post. And even for those who do finish, taking six years to do it could cost them over $100,000 in their lifetime, according to Liberty Street Economics.
A graphic by TIP Strategies, an economic development consulting company, shows that in the last year, most metros have seen job growth, and many have had a big boom.
But what do you think? Is the economy getting better, or do we still have a long way to go? Be sure to vote in this poll.