Poll Finds Americans Pessimistic about Salaries

The New York Times released a major poll Friday about how Americans feel about their economic prospects.

David Leonhardt, who writes about economics for the Times, tells Renee Montagne that Americans are more worried than they used to be about their job security.

"People are still feeling OK about their own personal finances, but they're deeply anxious about the future and about the direction of the country," he says.

The poll asked people whether they have been getting ahead, staying even or falling behind in their salaries in the past couple of years. About two in 10 people said they're getting ahead, whereas eight in 10 said they're staying even or falling behind. Those findings are consistent with what we know about the economy, Leonhardt says.

"Household income set an all-time record in 1999, and we still haven't returned to that record. That's really remarkable. There is no other economic expansion on record that failed to set a new record for median household income."

If the U.S. is headed into a recession now, he says, "We just will have finished an economic expansion in which most people did not get a raise."

People did not list jobs and employment as their No. 1 economic concern right now, though. The top concern is fuel costs.



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