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Majority of U.S. Consumers Believe Country is in Recession

Schaumburg, Ill. Eighty-five percent of U.S. consumers believe the country is currently in a recession and consumer confidence in the economy plunged 17 points from the second half of 2007 to the first half of 2008, according to a new online survey by The Nielsen Co.

About 35% of U.S. consumers consider the economy their biggest concern over the next six months. Debt comes in a distant second place at 15%, followed by work/life balance (8%). International affairs, such as war and terrorism, rank near the bottom of the list (2% and 3%, respectively). Immigration is cited by only 2% of respondents.

“With high gas prices, food inflation and other economic pressures, it’s not a surprise that the economy is a top concern for many Americans,” said David Parma, global head of customized research for The Nielsen Co. “Consumers have many reasons to feel pessimistic right now and even if we’re not officially in a recession, consumers certainly feel like we’re in one.”

Overall, the report indicated that the American view of the economy is bleak. Sixty-six percent of U.S. respondents showed a pessimistic view of their local job prospects over the next 12 months, with 50% saying it’s “not so good” and 16% calling it “bad.” Only 3% called it “excellent.”