Other interesting findings include:
- Looking ahead to the coming year, one-third of Americans (34%) expect the economy to improve while 41% say it will stay the same and one-quarter (25%) believe it will get worse. In October, three in ten U.S. adults both believed the economy would improve in the coming year (30%) and get worse (30%) while four in ten (40%) thought it would stay the same;
- When it comes to the state of the job market, just one in ten Americans (11%) believe the job market in their region of the country is good while 23% say it is neither good nor bad and two-thirds (66%) believe it is bad. Last month, 13% of U.S. adults thought the job market was good while 66% thought it was bad;
- Different regions of the country have slightly different views on the job market. Things seem "best" in the South where 14% say the job market is good and 62% believe it is bad. In the Midwest, 12% say it is good, but 70% believe the job market is bad;
- There is a sense of optimism looking forward for the job market as three in ten (30%) believe the job market will be better over the next six months, up from 23% who said this in October. Half of Americans (50%) say the job market will stay the same and 21% believe it will get worse over the next six months;
- One in ten Americans (10%) believe the job market has already started growing, up from 7% who said this in October, while 11% say it will start growing in the next 6 months. One in five U.S. adults (22%) believe the job market will start growing between 6 and 12 months from now but two in five (41%) say it will not be for another year or longer; and,
- One question is if the government even has the power to create jobs—almost two-thirds of Americans (65%) say it does while one-quarter (27%) disagrees. Democrats are more likely than both Independents and Republicans to agree that the government has the power to create jobs (77% vs. 62% and 52%).
While the signs of optimism are slight, they are detectable when Americans discuss the economy. Some of this may be due to the general sense of optimism many have during the holiday season, or possibly due to the hope that the results of the recent election will produce the change that the public demands. Regardless of the reason, the fact is the optimism will not last if there is nothing to sustain it. President Obama and the new Republican leaders in the House of Representatives will need to work together to not only show people they can, but also to produce results. Otherwise, the pessimism will definitely return.