“American jobs have not become more plentiful or secure and the economy hasn’t suddenly shifted into high gear. For most Main Street Americans, only the headlines have changed,” continued Hernandez.
Survey highlights include:
- 62% of respondents see no evidence the recession is over; 23% expect things to get worse.
- 59% of consumers don’t see their personal financial situation improving in the next six months; 15% feel they will be worse off.
- 55% of respondents have been directly impacted by the recession in the form of job loss, reduced hours and/or reduced benefits.
- 57% of consumers are spending less this year than last year.
The ongoing malaise among consumers is dampening their enthusiasm to borrow and spend, activities that are essential for economic growth. High unemployment and economic uncertainty have ushered in a period of fear and frugality, and small businesses are feeling the impact. In its spring 2011 survey, RFG found a majority of small business owners predicting 2011 sales to be as bad as or worse than 2010, a year that had already seen depressed revenue streams.
The survey revealed continuing public anger over TARP bailouts with half of all households saying they are less likely to use a big bank because of the bailouts. There is a bright spot in this survey for community based financial institutions. Consumers were more likely to say their local bank or credit union was “extremely or somewhat supportive” during the recession; big bank users were less likely to have that opinion. Consumers and small businesses also agreed overwhelmingly that smaller institutions offer more personalized service than big banks.
“Community institutions have provided good support to small businesses and consumers. Local banks and credit unions are the lifeblood of every community in this country, and they are in a strong position to satisfy the borrowing needs of small businesses,” stated Bill Handel, vice president of research and product development of Raddon Financial Group and co-author of the survey.