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Americans' economic outlooks improved at national, regional, and household levels

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Attitudes toward the economy show both month-over-month and year-over-year improvements.

The economy can be a tough thing to gauge. Soothsayers of all sorts report on short and long term outlooks, but an important thing to note is that the economy doesn't exist in a vacuum. While many factors play into its ebb and flow, what people actually expect of it can become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, impacting spending and saving trends which can in turn have impacts on the economy as a whole. According to a recent Harris Poll, increasing percentages of Americans are reporting positive economic sentiments in regards to their household, their region, and the nation as a whole.

"It's worth noting that the 38% of Americans rating the job market in their region as "bad" still outpaces those with positive sentiments."

This month, a third (32%) of U.S. adults expect the economy to improve in the coming year, while 47% expect that it will remain the same and roughly two in ten (21%) expect it to get worse. Expectations that it will improve have grown since last month (when 28% were expecting improvement), as well as in comparison to January of 2014 (when 26% indicated the same).

  • Men (35%) are more likely than women (29%) to expect the economy to improve in the next year.
  • Nearly half of Democrats (48%) expect to see improvement in the economy, with three in ten Independents (30%) and only 15% of Republicans indicating the same.

On the home front

Turning a whole lot closer to home, while a slim majority of Americans (53%) say they expect their household's financial condition to remain the same in the next six months, an increasing percentage (27%, up from 22% last month and 23% at the same time last year) expect it to be better. Roughly two in ten (21%, equal to last month but down considerably from January of 2014) say that it will be worse.

Regional job market

Looking at the job market in one's own region, the perception that it's good (30%) is on the rise in comparison to both the 26% rating it "good" in August (the last time the question was asked) and the 21% indicating the same in January of last year. It's worth noting that the 38% of Americans rating the job market in their region as "bad" still outpaces those with positive sentiments, though equally worthy of mention is the fact that this percentage is down somewhat from last August (when 41% gave it a "bad" rating) and considerably from a year ago (when 48% indicated the same). Roughly a third of U.S. adults (32%) currently rate the present job market in their region neither good nor bad.

Looking ahead, 27% of Americans (identical to last August but up somewhat from last January's 24%) believe the job market in their region will get better within the next six months, while 17% (down from 20% last August and 23% last January) believe it will be worse. The majority of U.S. adults (56%) believe that the job market in their region will remain the same.

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