NYT|Momentive Poll: June 2022

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NYT|Momentive Poll: June 2022

Consumer confidence continues to drop, now hitting a new all-time low.

Ken Ewell

June 30, 2022 | 3 min read

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Inflation—already a problem—worsens, and consumer confidence plummets even further below its previous nadir

More than nine in 10 people across the U.S. (92%), now say they are concerned about inflation, with a full 70% saying they are “very concerned” (up from 63% in April). Many expect inflation to continue to be a problem for the long haul. About a third of people (32%) expect prices to rise by 10% or more over the next 12 months, while 16% expect prices to rise by about 8%, 22% expect prices to rise by about 6%, 20% expect prices to rise by about 4%, and just 8% expect prices to rise by 2% or less. 

President Biden receives low marks for his handling of inflation: just 31% of Americans say they approve of the way he is handling inflation, ten points less than the 41% who approve of his overall job as president. 

Approval for the Federal Reserve’s handling of inflation is on par with Biden’s: 30% of Americans say they approve of the way the Fed is handling inflation, while 66% disapprove. Relative to Biden, the Fed gets lower approval among Democrats but higher approval among Republicans.

With inflation the top economic concern, the Consumer Confidence Index plummets to its lowest score yet in the five years of our polling with the NYT, a score of 33 out of a possible 100. Every question that comprises the index score worsened since the previous survey. 

  • More than half (52%) of people say they are worse off financially than they were a year ago–up from 41% in April and the highest ever in the history of the survey. 
  • Similarly, 39% of people now say they expect to be worse off financially a year from now; again, that number is the highest it has ever reached. 
  • Overall, 28% of people expect business conditions to be very bad over the next 12 months, and 23% expect them to be somewhat bad—both new highs. 
  • The number of people who expect periods of widespread unemployment or depression to occur in the next five years has risen to 71%, another new high. 
  • Finally, 41% of people say now is a bad time to make large purchases, up from 36% in April and slightly exceeding the 39% that number reached in April 2020 at the start of the COVID pandemic. 

The job market has been a bright spot in the economy for the past year, but that may be changing

Up until now, the scorching hot job market has made inflation somewhat bearable, with many workers getting pay raises or switching jobs in order to improve their salaries. That may be on the verge of a shift. In this latest survey, about half of workers (49%) say they have gotten a pay raise but that it has not kept up with inflation. That number is up from 43% in April, while the numbers saying they haven’t gotten a pay raise in the last year and who have gotten a raise that kept up with inflation have both ticked down. 

Almost a quarter of Americans (24%) say now is a “very good” time to look for a new job and another 22% say now is a “somewhat good” time to be job searching; while those sentiments are largely positive, those numbers are both down from April. 

Still, 62% of workers say they are confident they could find another job with similar pay, and 48% even say they could find another job with higher pay right now if they wanted to. Men and women, college grads and those with less than a college degree, and part-time workers and full-time workers are all just as likely as each other to say they could find a new job if they wanted to right now. 

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