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Monday, April 12, 2010

Informing the Recession Analysis

Just as the National Bureau of Economic Research is out today with its assessment that it's too early to pinpoint an exact end date for the U.S. economic recession, we're just out of the field with our annual "Economy and Personal Finance" poll.

Among the findings we'll be reporting on in the next few weeks, Americans' views on:

  • Their financial situation and most important financial problem facing their family
  • Specific financial worries including paying for bills, medical costs, housing, and tuition
  • Their perceived likelihood of losing their job or being laid off and the chances of finding another job as good as the one they have now
  • Expectations about housing prices
  • Their current investments and views on the best long-term investments
  • Expectations and concerns about having enough money for retirement
Our Economic Outlook measure shows the complexity of the task at hand in assessing whether the worst is behind us. Currently, more than 4 in 10 Americans see the economy getting better -- which is encouraging -- but we've been bouncing around that level since last April yet unable to sustain it. Further, our finding today that economic confidence ratings are highly political underscores the challenge of focusing on any one metric.

Since it is real Americans who seek and create jobs, hire and fire, spend and save, these behavioral metrics should be assessed alongside with the traditional economic metrics for a complete picture of the country's true economic health -- and the determination of whether we are truly back on track for further growth.

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