American Sentiment Low Despite Economic Boom

New York, NY, February 23, 2022-Americans normally are happiest when the economy is growing rapidly, reports the Wall Street Journal. 

“The unusual nature of today’s recovery has upended that pattern.

“Last year was the best year for job growth on record. Workers are commanding solid wage gains. Booming home and stock-market values have lifted household wealth to records.

“But the record job growth followed record job losses in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Inflation at 7.5% is eating up those wage gains for many Americans. And the unsettling effects of the pandemic, such as product shortages, are still playing out.

“That explains why consumers say they feel as bad as they did in the financial-crisis year of 2009, a recent Gallup poll showed. For the first time, Americans who say they are ‘not too happy’ outnumber those who say they’re ‘very happy,’ according to a survey from the nonprofit group NORC at the University of Chicago.

“Unlike the country’s last big inflation bout in the 1970s and early 1980s, when price pressure built over a decade, this time a cost-of-living runup unfolded in months. It caught many off guard, from President Biden and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to the ordinary grocery shopper.

“The latest phase of the pandemic has further eroded faith in leaders and institutions, leading to feelings of frustration, aimlessness and helplessness, polling shows, even among some who are doing well in today’s economy.

“The economic gloom could have important political implications. President Biden is counting on strong growth, propelled in part by a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 stimulus law and a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure package, to boost his popularity heading into this year’s midterm elections. 

“Prices also are rising faster than wages, which means people see their purchasing power slipping.”