Despite the fact that the American economy is going strong, with high GDP growth and the lowest level of employment in 40 years, a survey from Bankrate. com shows that nearly 40 percent of Americans believe the next recession is already here or awaits us in the next 12 months.
So, why do experts insist the economy is good, if not excellent, when the Average Joe has an entirely different sentiment?
Indeed, the BankRate survey noted that 88 percent of "experts" say the economy is "good," and 11 percent even describe it as "excellent.
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The disconnect between the two groups is difficult to understand at a time when the U.S. economy has achieved its longest growth record without recession. In fact, we’re looking at a 10-year growth spurt. In other words, 121 months of straight growth.
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Still, 39 percent of Americans say the economy is “not so good”.
Part of the reason for the disconnect may be simply psychological: Something’s got to give when things are plugging along for 10 years without a hitch. Many Americans may simply be waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Recent history has shown us that good times never last forever. Our generations have witnessed several cycles of expansion and recession. In the past 20 years, there have been two recessions. Statistically speaking, then, we’re due for one soon.
The last recession hasn’t been forgotten. Fears linger. So does the knowledge that after the last recession, more than six million Americans had been out of work longer than six months.
But the disconnect also comes from other economic data that belies GDP and unemployment figures: Only 35 percent of average consumers have a minimum of 3-5 months of emergency savings. In other words, times might be good, but few have a safety net.
“If you haven’t had a raise in a few years, if you’re still living paycheck-to-paycheck not making any headway, it’s tough to feel like the economy is doing great. The unemployment is the lowest in 50 years – doesn’t mean that everybody’s got a job, doesn’t mean that everybody’s doing great,” says Bankrate chief financial analyst Greg McBride.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the start of the year said he doesn’t think a recession will hit in 2019, but he is concerned about slowing global growth in places such as China and Europe.
U.S. GDP growth--despite the strong showing--remains a cause for concern. One of the key tools for tracking it is the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow tracker,which shows Q2 coming in at 1.5 percent--a far lower gain than Q1.
And if you’re watching Wall Street as your barometer, it’s hard to get a clear picture. While half of Wall Street might not be worried about a recession, many are worried about downside risks, particularly with corporations suggesting they won’t meet Wall Street earnings estimates the next time around.