A new report suggests much of the country has yet to actually witness a full economic recovery.
By Andrew Soergel, Economy Reporter |July 13, 2017, at 1:06 p.m.
Study: 3 in 10 Americans Haven’t Recovered From Great Recession
A new report suggests 30 percent of Americans have yet to recover from the financial crisis.
The U.S. is now nearly 10 years removed from the onset of the worst financial crisis the economy has weathered since the Great Depression back in the 1930s. But a new study suggests 3 in 10 Americans still feel as though their personal finances haven’t fully recovered or never will.
And nearly half believe the U.S. economy has yet to fully recover from the crisis and the Great Recession.
A survey published Thursday by Country Financial polled 1,000 adults across the country. It found that 26 percent of respondents are still in recovery mode while another 4 percent believe they will never recover. And 42 percent said they think the broader economy has not “fully recovered financially since the 2007/2008 financial crisis.”
These feelings have led many to adjust or delay their planned retirement years, as only 39 percent of respondents said they’ll be able to retire as anticipated in the aftermath of the crisis. More than 1 in 5 said they’ll have to delay retirement at least five years if they’ll be able to retire at all.
Government data, however, shows various branches of the economy have indeed returned to their pre-recessionary levels of health. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly in June to 4.4 percent but is still comparable to where it was at the end of 2006. Home prices have hit new highs, as have major stock indexes on Wall Street. And consumer and business confidence metrics have risen to their highest levels in years.
But the Country Financial survey suggests not all Americans have enjoyed those gains and still aren’t completely confident in the trajectory of the U.S. economy. Doyle Williams, an executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Country Financial, says this is, in part, a story of geography.
“Ten years ago, during the housing crisis, people were locked into geographies, they couldn’t follow jobs or job opportunities because of where they were located,” Williams says. “People are now more mobile, but you still see people that may not have the skill sets and may not be in the right location. … Some of the rural areas being left behind.”
The Country Financial poll is hardly the first to highlight a growing disparity between economic success in the nation’s major metropolitan areas and the erosion of opportunity in smaller rural communities across the country. A study published earlier this year by the National Association of Counties found that slightly more than a quarter of America’s counties had fully recovered from the recession in terms of unemployment, job availability, economic output and median home price.
A separate wage report from the Pew Charitable Trusts found a deeply uneven landscape in terms of personal income growth since the recovery. Resource-rich states like North Dakota, Texas and Alaska saw average annual income growth of 4.7 percent, 3 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, between the end of 2007 and the middle of last year.
Nevada, Illinois and Alabama, meanwhile, saw gains of just 0.5 percent, 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.
Still, Williams points out that Americans do seem to feel fairly comfortable with their own financial situations, even if many believe they haven’t fully recovered from the recession. Three in 5 respondents said they feel their overall level of financial security is “excellent” or “good,” while 85 percent expect their current conditions to get better or stay the same over the course of the next six months.
And 84 percent of those surveyed said they’re “very” or “somewhat” confident they’ll be able to pay off their existing debts.
“The positive piece is this sense of personal responsibility. People feel like they’re in control, for the most part. And I think we should all feel good about that,” Williams says.
But the more concerning piece of the puzzle is the percentage of respondents who said they wouldn’t be able to make ends meet if they found themselves unemployed. More than 30 percent of those surveyed said they would be able to go one month at most without any income and still be able to pay bills on time. Only 28 percent said they’d be able to go more than five months and still be in the clear.
“This really is a national issue, that people aren’t prepared,” Williams said. “The vast majority of people have saved nothing. And this point on people not being able to go by a month [without income] speaks to that. It is a real concern.”