In BIA survey, Granite Staters’ pessimism emerges about long-term economic outlook

30% percent of respondents expected to be worse off in a year, highest percentage since 2008

Consumer confidence is rebounding in New Hampshire, but pessimism about the trajectory of personal finances is at Great Recession levels, according to a new poll from the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

The findings were released Monday and are the latest in the Business and Industry Association’s consumer confidence report.

As with UNH’s other surveys about masks and vaccinations, results differed sharply by party, including the state of personal finances. When asked if they were better off financially than a year ago, 29% of Democrats said yes but only 16% of Republicans did. It was the reverse during the Donald Trump presidency, when more Republicans described themselves as better off, even during the height of the pandemic.

Looking ahead, 30% of respondents expected to be worse off in a year, the highest percentage since 2008, when it also hit 30%, while 47% expected they’d be the same. Those percentages also differed by party, with more Democrats (35%) feeling optimistic than independents (15%) and Republicans (14%.)

The survey center flagged another warning factor: Only 20% of respondents think it’s a good time to buy a major household item, an all-time low. The caution is highest among Republicans. In February, 23% of Republicans said it was a good time to buy a major household item. In this survey, only 9% did.

Asked if they thought businesses would have “good times” ahead with the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions, 40% of all respondents said yes, nearly twice the percentage in February. Again, more Democrats (40%) than Republicans (16%) expressed optimism.

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