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Mixed Views on the Economy - 3/13/15

Nearly six years after the end of the Great Recession, the views of Americans regarding the performance of the broader economy and their household finances remains decidedly mixed.  The Pew Charitable Trusts’ recently polled seven thousand US households.  Results of the survey were recently highlighted by the Associated Press.  The survey indicates that fifty-seven percent of Americans don’t consider themselves ready for a sudden financial setback.  Perhaps even more remarkably, fifty-five percent say that they break even or spend more than they make each month. 

A third of those surveyed indicated that they have yet to amass any savings.  This state of affairs at the household level persists despite ongoing improvements in economic conditions.  Twenty-seven percent give the economy a positive grade, which is equal to pre-recession levels.  Still many people feel vulnerable, in part because many have sustained an economic shock over the past year.  Fully eighty percent of surveyed households report suffering an economic shock over the past year such as a hospital visit, the loss of a spouse or major home or auto repairs.

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.