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  • Consumers positive about economy; employment still a question
  • February 4, 2015
  • By Karla Sullivan

    More than a third of consumers have a favorable view of the economy — the highest rate measured following the Great Recession, according to a recent LIMRA survey of Americans.

    “Consumer sentiment on the economy tends to be seasonal – it’s not uncommon for us to see a boost at the start of each new year,” said Jennifer Douglas, associate research director at LIMRA Developmental and Strategic Research. “To a greater extent, the strong equity markets, labor market and low gas prices are likely to have prompted a sense of personal financial well-being, influencing their opinion of the broad economy.”

    The quarterly study also tracks consumer confidence in various sectors of the financial services industry. The survey revealed that consumers show increasing confidence in the financial sectors.

    “While confidence levels aren’t where they were prior to the Great Recession, the financial services industry is slowly earning back the trust and confidence of the American people,” Douglas said. “Confidence in the insurance industry has actually doubled since 2008. Lower prices and the option of guaranteed life insurance without a medical history or exam has helped give more options for those in need of life insurance.

    LIMRA conducted an online survey of 1000 adults between Jan. 16-20, 2015. The results are weighted to represent the U.S. adult population.

    Though the unemployment rate has dropped, to 5.6 percent, according to research, many are still out of work or underemployed. The national average of employment statistics does not include those that have dropped out of the job race, according to Jim Clifton, CEO at Gallup. If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20–maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn–you’re not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6 percent.

    Many are working part time and that is not included in the employment statistics. Some work two part time jobs to make up for one full-time. Right now, the U.S. is delivering at a staggeringly low rate of 44 percent which is the number of full-time jobs as a percent of the adult population, 18 and older. We need that to be 50 percent and a bare minimum of 10 million new, good jobs to replenish America’s middle class.

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