The U.S. economy gets poor marks from most Americas, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released Friday.
Forty-nine percent of Americans expect the economy will be in a recession in the next year, the poll showed. Another 39 percent say the economy is already in a recession.
Just twenty percent say the economy will avoid a recession.
The numbers are striking because by many measures the economy remains resilient. The unemployment rate is just 3.5 percent and although layoffs have picked up recently, they remain low by historical measures. The economy grew at a 2.6 percent seasonally adjusted annualized rate in the last three months of 2023. Next Thursday, the government will release its estimate for first quarter growth, which many economists expect to come in around two percent.
Of course, inflation is still running very high. The consumer price index (CPI) was up 5.6 percent in March compared with a year earlier. Median CPI, which some regard as a good guide to underlying inflationary pressures, was up 7.1 percent for the year.
Likely as a result of inflation, a majority of Americans say their financial situation is worsening. The Harvard CAPS-Harris survey showed 52 percent said their personal financial situation is getting worse, up from 48 percent a month ago. Just 25 percent say their financial situation is improving. Sixty-two percent describe the U.S. economy as weak and 63 percent say the economy is on the “wrong track.”
The share of people saying the economy is on the right track fell across the political spectrum in April. Democrats who view the economy on the right track fell from 58 percent to 54 percent. Independent right-trackers fell from 27 percent to 20 percent. Republicans declined from 19 percent to 12 percent.
The survey was conducted online within the United States from April 18-19, 2023 among 1,845 registered voters by The Harris Poll and HarrisX.