Americans optimistic about 2011 economy: poll

20:35, January 04, 2011      

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A majority of Americans are feeling optimistic about next year's U.S. economy, according to a Gallup survey released on Monday.

In terms of the overall economy, 52 percent of adults believe next year's economy will be better than last year's, 21 percent think it will be the same and 25 percent believe it will be worse.

Those living in the Midwest and East are slightly more optimistic about the economic outlook for 2011 than their Southern and Western counterparts.

Americans earning an annual 75,000 U.S. dollars or more are also a bit more positive than other Americans, and Democrats are considerably more optimistic than independents and Republicans, according to Gallup.

Fifty-five percent of those earning 75,000 U.S. dollars or more annually maintain a positive outlook for next year's economy, whereas 23 percent of that group said it would remain the same and 22 percent thought it would be worse.

Americans' positive outlook parallels their generally optimistic expectations for 2011, which tends to be the case across regions, incomes, and party affiliation, according to Gallup.

This overall rise in optimism was in place before the lame-duck Congress passed new legislation and prior to the surge in spending at the end of the Christmas holiday. Consumers only became increasingly positive about the economy as 2010 came to an end, Gallup's report said.

Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at The Economic Outlook Group, expressed optimism that companies will begin hiring. This comes after reports in October that companies were hoarding nearly 1 trillion U.S. dollars in cash, due to uncertainty over the strength of the recovery from the worst recession since the 1930s.

He also expected the unemployment rate, which stands at a stubbornly high 9.8 percent, to fall below 9 percent by the end of this year.

"The economy is not only looking stronger but also much more durable," he said. "It appears that we are in a cycle where employers are growing more confident that the pickup in economic activity both here and abroad is now real and genuine."

"It does appear now that employers are gearing up to increase hiring in 2011, probably at the best pace we've seen in at least three years," he said.

Still, not all economists are forecasting a rosy picture for next year.

Writing as a guest blogger for the Christian Science Monitor, professor Robert Reich from University of California at Berkeley, said this year "the two American economies - the Big Money economy and the Average Working Family economy - will continue to diverge."

"Corporate profits will continue to rise, as will the stock market. But typical wages will go nowhere, joblessness will remain high, the ranks of the long-term unemployed will continue to rise, the housing recovery will remain stalled, and consumer confidence will sag," said the former secretary of labor under U.S. President Bill Clinton.

He expected the jobless rate to remain at around 9 percent in 2011.

Source: Xinhua
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