Survey: Granite Staters aren’t feeling great about economy

University of New Hampshire Survey Center reveals findings on consumer confidence
Woman Looking Receipt From A Supermarket

A majority of Granite Staters feel their household is in a worse place financially compared to a year ago and things won’t fare any better within the next year — for their own households, New Hampshire businesses and the U.S. economy.

Those are among the findings of a poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, which has tracked consumer confidence among Granite Staters since 2001. Andy Smith, who directs the Center, said the results from this year are similar to those from 2007, right before the Great Recession.

“All of the signals are flashing red for the U.S. economy in the eyes of the residents of New Hampshire,” he said. “A lot of this tends to be self-fulfilling: If people expect things to be bad, they’ll change their behavior to reduce spending. That reduction of spending actually causes the economy to drop.”

According to the survey, 87 percent of Granite Staters expect their personal finances will stay the same or get worse within a year. Republicans reported more negative feelings about their personal finances compared to independents and Democrats: 81 percent of Republicans surveyed consider themselves worse off financially a year ago, while 67 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats felt the same.

But Smith said even New Hampshire Democrats’ perceptions of the health of the economy and their personal finances are at a low.

“There’s a partisan difference in how people feel,” he said. “It’s been increasingly the case that even that difference has narrowed.”

The results also show Granite Staters are even more pessimistic about the U.S. economy than the local economy, and less than one-fifth of respondents think New Hampshire’s businesses will fare well in the upcoming year.

Wealth is another determining factor for how Granite Staters responded to the survey. Nearly half of respondents with a household income below $75,000 said they expect to be worse off a year from now — and that sentiment has remained at similar levels since August. Meanwhile, 28 percent of respondents earning more than $75,000 anticipate that they will be worse off in a year, an improvement from 45 percent reporting the same in August.

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