Is your personal economy improving?
March 5th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Is your personal economy improving?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Four in 10 Americans say the U.S. economy is growing.

That's up from 27% last April and just 3% in 2008.

The flip side of the new USA Today/Gallup Poll is that 46% say the economy is in a recession or a depression.

But the survey definitely suggests a growing optimism about the economy.

It's reflected among both men and women and among all age groups, regions of the country and political parties.

However, politics still does play a role here: Democrats, nonwhites and self-described liberals are the most likely to believe the economy is growing.

Republicans and conservatives are the least likely to see the glass half full.

In what might be a sign of concern for President Obama, about half of independents say we're in a recession or depression.

There are several factors causing concern for many Americans when it comes to their "personal economy."

For starters, the housing market – the biggest asset for many – is still in trouble.

Home prices recently fell to their lowest point in more than a decade.

Then there are surging gasoline prices, which affect nearly everyone.

AAA reports gas prices hit a national average of $3.77 a gallon, up for the 27th day in a row. In several states, gas is already at or near $4 a gallon.

Some economists worry that high gas prices could be the tipping point that brings a new economic downturn.

Here’s my question to you: Is your personal economy improving?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

When my husband was laid off this February, our personal economy took a large hit. He has had a few interviews, but no one's picked him up yet. I have read all the news reports about the improvement of our national economy – but that's not what we're seeing at home right now.

Yes, my personal economy has improved dramatically. I've been a freelance writer for 10 years, and my workload plummeted in late 2008 and through 2009. In 2010, many of my editors/clients, whose budgets had been downsized, started calling again and my income bounced back up. This year, I'm busier than ever.

No. Every time I think I am, I have to get gas again. And if that isn't enough my job is coming to an end in 9 short weeks.

If I were receiving so-called "FREE" money from the government, I would probably say the economy is getting better. But if I'm like the 50% who pay taxes, the economy stinks. The question should be are you better off than you were four years ago? And the answer is a big NO.

Frank in Scottsdale, Arizona:
Jack, I’m a small business owner in Scottsdale and January and February have been the best months since 2008. So I do see economic improvement.

I'm a Republican and it hurts to say 'Yes, my economy is getting better'. But being in the 1%, I win either way. If the economy improves under Obama, I win. If Romney wins, he will reward those who put him in the Oval office... I win again.

Jeff in Minnesota:
If that means it sucks a bit less, I suppose it is improving… but I still feel like I'm losing ground.

Posted by
Filed under: Personal Finances
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. Willda Ritter

    No! And I don't expect it to. Food prices, rent and you name it and it's all jumped sky high.

    March 5, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  2. Cathy

    Litlle by littleby little

    March 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  3. Kirk (Apple Valley, Minnesota)

    Despite everything the GOP and Tea Party is trying to do to hinder us, yes, our personal economy is improving.

    March 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  4. Mack from Michigan

    I don't think so Jack. The other day at work I took a little misstep off a ladder and twisted an ankle. For the briefest moment I think I was hoping it was broke so I could get workers comp or at my age social security. I.m ashamed to admit that and thats not how I really feel, but beating my head to the wall paycheck to paycheck is wearing me down bad.

    March 5, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  5. David R Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    NO !!! Jack The country is so deep in debt,congress is sooooo!!! out of touch,that the future is grim
    becaue we are not building it..................we have the credit card on old ideas and re election re election.

    March 5, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  6. Annie, Atlanta

    No. It's way worse.

    March 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  7. Jk from Minnesota

    Yes, my person economy is looking better, but it never really looked bad either during the recession.

    March 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  8. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I am retired and I haven't seen my personal income improve. But I have seen it threatening by the Republicans who want to cut and do away with Social Security and Medicare. My only wish is they would be just as enthusiastic when it comes to making the 1% pay their fair share.

    March 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  9. George in PA

    In a word,no. As a retiree, I've gone to cash since there is so much uncertainty in this economy. I can't risk losing my retirement savings, but that said, my savings are losing buying power due to inflation.

    March 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  10. Bill in PA

    Sorry, no, my personal finances are getting worse.
    Local taxes are up and services down.
    Medical costs way up and income down.
    Energy, food and staples are rising.
    But worse half of the population is enthralled with political candidates who will make things much MUCH worse.

    March 5, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  11. Kenneth in California

    No Jack, it is because of the perpetual motion of inflation. We are living in our marketplace of skyrocketing coats and prices that continues to suck the value of a dollar. That can't be improvement for those working or retired. Today's atmosphere of greed and profits, cannot improve one's personal economy when there is no gravity to rising prices that keeps most of us economically down. The shrinking middle class tells us so.

    March 5, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  12. Joe Johnson

    NO every time I think I am I have to get gas again and if that isn't enough my job is coming to an end in 9 short weeks I am not sure what I will do about the job but I am sure about my vote anybody but Obama!

    March 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  13. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    My personal economy is improving from what it was and where it was headed in 2008 and 2009 but it's growth has stalled to a slower pace than I had hoped for in 2012. However, when compared to the state of the many many personal economies in Europe, I am deeply grateful and appreciative for my personal economic status in the U. S economy and global economy.

    March 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  14. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    My personal economy is not in the top 1 % of this country, but I am grateful for my personal position in the U S economy. I am especially grateful when I compare my personal economic status with the personal economies with individuals in European countries

    March 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  15. Connie from Logansport,IN.

    Let's put it this way Jack it's not improved enough to sock it away in the Cayman Islands.

    March 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  16. Greg in Arkansas

    Our personal economy is still in the black, but just barely.
    As long as we continue to cut the frivolous spending, my wife and I can STILL do an occasional "night on the town"
    HOWEVER, if the price of gasoline continues to rise, we may have to cut the "fries" and we definitely won't be able to "super-size" anymore.

    March 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  17. Richard Texas

    Your joking right Jack? As the gas gauge in my car goes up at the service station the money in my wallet goes down. Groceries are twice the price they were 3 years ago and a chance at employment has become only a dream. If you ask me if I am better off now then I was 3 years ago the answer is absolutely not. Do I believe things are going to get better anytime soon? Not hardly.

    March 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  18. Conor in Chicago

    Actually yes, my financial situation is better than it’s ever been. I’ve got a little money in the bank, I can have a nice meal without worrying about it, and although I don’t really like my job much, I am not terrified of losing it every day I walk into work. Of course, I am a single male with no kids so I don’t have the expenses that a family man would have, but that’s exactly why I chose the route I did. I don’t want that burden on myself. I see no value in raising children in this world and refuse to pretend like I will love the same woman for the next 30-50 years. So, no kids and no marriage means I am doing quite well right now.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  19. Julia, Fayetteville, NC

    Yes! I am managing my $ better. I am beginning to lose weight therefore I will have $ to get gas to go buy groceries. I was a Republican. I have been watching them. They have made me know that I must manage my $ better if they get back in because we will go to war again and this time, we will try to make Iran a Democratic nation just like we did Iraq. Somehow we have overlooked Saudi Arabia but I guess that is because we hope and pray they will honor their promises to give us the gas and oil that will soon be $10 a gallon when the Republicans get back in control.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  20. Joan W.

    When my husband was laid off this February our personal economy took a large hit. He has had a few interviews, but no one's picked him up yet. I have read all the news reports about the improvement of our national economy – but that's not what we're seeing at home right now.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  21. bud rupert

    As long as I keep the INGO dollars more then the OUTGO I'm doing fine

    March 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  22. Gary H. Boyd

    Being retired 18 years and having taken a lump sum back then, I'm watching the clock, the account balance and what the donkeys in Washington are doing to social security with genuine interest. With any luck I'll run out of time before I run out of money. Kinda pathetic when ya think about it.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    March 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  23. Carla from Alabama

    I consider you a relatively smart guy, Jack. So is this some kind of joke, or have you just become addled from dealing with the Rushes and Ron Pauls and the whole Republican circus?

    March 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  24. David Gerstenfeld

    Jack, My wife & I live (?) on our social security income plus a little from savings. Any more questions?
    David, Las Vegas

    March 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  25. Jenna Roseville CA

    Is your personal economy improving?

    Most definately since Obama took office. My money buys so much more. Since Obama took office I have purchased 2 homes, 2 cars, furniture, appliances, had gardening done, a new complete wood fence, and I am about to add solar.

    I couldn't do this without a good paying job. My additional education really paid off.

    I may not agree with everything that Obama says or has done, but he has MY VOTE in November.

    Roseville CA

    March 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  26. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    No Jack, we lost our job a few weeks ago so are now unemployed and will not be getting unemployment. We are retired and very thankful that we can make it without having to work at this point. I know it sounds crazy but we like to work and enjoyed the extra money.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  27. Thinkforyourself, OK

    No, Jack, it isn't. I am seeing my future disintegrate under this president. Those of us reaching retirement were hoping for a better return on our investments, but Obama has plans to cut off every avenue for those who actually saved their money so they could live off investments. Obama actually wants to end the tax break for investing in Municipal Bonds. What would be the point of taking the risk then? We fear that we will run out of money.
    This doesn't even take into account the MENTAL ANGUISH this president has perpetrated upon We the People by his constant divisiveness. I hate to say it, but it seems he is fomenting societal unrest. This is what Breitbart was going to expose in videos the day of his death. In order to destroy a country, you must create racial and class divide so that people will fight one another. Scary times we are living in.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  28. JB from Nashville

    Yes...in my dreams...my personal economy is improving. In my dreams, my health care premium did not increase
    by 25% and in my dreams, I'm still paying $ 1.89 for gasoline, which was the price ibefore Barack Obama was elected
    President and destroyed my country's economy.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  29. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Sure it is. We got a 2.8% pay rasie on Social Security; Oops, gas went up again, groceries are going up "again"; but according to the Fed Guru, we don't have inflation. We also lost our part time jobs a few weeks ago. Let's see; our lives are better today than many millions around the world.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  30. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: Being in the 99%-–NO!

    March 5, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  31. JC Dicus

    I live on Social Security so with two recent years of no cost of living increases and soaring food and gas prices my personal economic situation is pretty stagnant.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  32. Ralph Spyer from Chicago Illinois

    My real estate taxes are over ten thousand dollars,but my home worth less than I payed for it. I spend 400 hunded dollars a month on gas. My penson is in the red,The government is in Tet lie redux , I would move to Italy or France but my dollars are worthless. Half of my union brothers are out of work. Everything at the store is made in China , What ;s good economics is bad politics ;what's bad economics is good politics, AND WE ARE IN A ELECTION YEAR

    March 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  33. Mitoosense

    If I save a dollar Benny and the Jets prints another to take it's place. I don't need to tell you what this policy does to my dollar..

    March 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  34. George

    Compared to what? In the last thirty years prices and the cost of living have increased faster than wages, and companies have found new ways to increase their bottom line by cutting every corner and benefit possible. I hear all this talk about rising gas prices and bailouts, and very little about the facts these companies are recording record profits. This is like a casino: the winnings you get are just enough to keep you feeding the machine. America is addicted to a dream that has become a nightmare.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  35. Bill of New Mexico

    In 1996, I was demoted from sectionhead to Engineer III.

    In 2000, my Engineer III position went away and I took retirement.

    In 2000, my 401k was rolled over into my retirement when the stock market was very high. I took hits for many years.

    In 2008, my retirement took a bit hit.

    This year my retirement has done fairly well.

    I have been luckier than most, but I can attest to the reality of the end of the middle class.

    When the middle class disappears, a substantial motivation of the American workforce will disappear. And the loss of this motivation is going to be very, very big. If you want to see a general loss of motivation go visit a banana republic.

    In the future America the attitude & sign "GONE FISHING!" will become prevalent.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  36. George

    In 1867 the US passed the Peonage Act. It took until Teddy Roosevelt before it got any real attention. Today Americans are encouraged to be in debt, which establishes a peonage system. It is well known that slaves are treated better than peons. With slaves owners risk losing their investment, where peons are so desperate they will tolerate any abuse just to survive. Did anyone pay attention in high school history?

    March 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  37. John Lake Charles, LA

    I hve a small pension and a social security check. My monthly income stays constant while prices that affect me keep going up. Food, gasoline, medicine, etc. So no Jack, my personal economy is not improving.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  38. Doug Ericson

    No, but how much of it is personal family decisions, ( tuition, cars, food, trips, etc. ), and how much of it government induced, ( taxation ), is hard to figure. Call it half and half. Tuition is devastating. In a better world, Tuition Payments would be Tax Deductible. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  39. diridi

    yes, they even raised my hours at my work place.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  40. Brian in Las Vegas

    Only by the slimmest of margins. My wife has finally found work that is not labeled as temporary or term. Its not full-time, but its also not with the employers here who have a use-them-up then dump them mentality.

    I don't expect any major changes until the extreme bipartisanship in the legislature ends and the people elected to those seats remember that compromise is what's needed.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  41. Dan from Stewartstown PA

    Technically, yes, my personal economy is improving. I have nearly recouped the losses my Profit Sharing Retirement Trust incurred at the height of the "W" administration. I just wish it had improved as quickly as COEs'; bank presidents'; hedge fund managers', etc... Vote GOP so we can go back to the same rules that allowed this travesty to happen in the first place. Yeah, right!

    March 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  42. Karl in Flint, MI

    Yes it is. I am retired on Social Security and a very small pension. Last year I bought a HUD house and my kids did the minor work to get it to 100%. This year I have ditched my overpriced national-brand Medicare supplement for a no premium slightly higher co-pay plan, since I don't live at my doctors office or the ER. I got rid of my overpriced unlimited talk, text and web cell phone for a pay-as-you-go plan that does what I need for a quarter of the price and found I qualified for help from Social Security with my the cost of my medications. Now after I pay the bills there is actually a little cash left over to replace my depleting saving account that has been draining since I retired.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  43. Jeff In Minnesota

    If that means it sucks a bit less, I suppose it is improving, but I still feel like I'm losing ground.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  44. Simon

    It was until the recent gas price surge. All I can say is "drill, baby, drill." Oh, wait a minute. We're supposed to be relying on green algae like the president said. I wonder if I can pour that directly into my gas tank?

    March 5, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  45. Pete in Georgia

    Improving ??
    Impossible. Everything you see, taste, or touch increases in price weekly now. How can anyone's economy improve in these conditions of gloom ??

    March 5, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  46. Leta

    Never really thought about my financial situation because I live a comfortable and simple life.
    Looking forward though for the economy to turn around.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  47. Jane in CA

    Yes, it is. Social Security got it's first raise in three years. Eligibility for Medicare means a reduction in my medical costs, both co-pays and insurance premiums. Eating better and losing weight means that my food bills have actually gone down, largely through portion control. Being able to find clothes that fit at sale prices helps, too. Being well enough to drop some meds entirely means almost $100/month. And houses are getting so cheap that I may actually buy one.

    I would still prefer to pay at least half of my own personal savings in taxes to help the rest of the country get better off, too. Far too many people in this country can't say the same things I can. Start building something that will benefit the country for decades and get Americans working again.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  48. David of Alexandria VA

    Definately improving, Jack. The stock market is up as a leading indicator. The housing market is down as a function of cleareing inventory too-long pent up by bank settlement negotiations. The 88% of Americand who haven't losst their job and 75% who are not underwater on their mortgages are starting to spend again. But mostly, I've learned to ignore the endless reminder from the press on how bad I should tink things are or frm the president's endless persistence that some successful person must be the cause of all my ills

    March 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  49. Toni

    No! I am still looking for a job! I don't see anything improving in my neighborhood! I was a Democrat now turned Independent and I tell you Jack, I would not vote for any of those brainless Republicans or that fake Obama in 2012!

    March 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  50. Deb in MT

    Let's see:

    My adult son has been able to get health insurance through work; my daughter just started a new job; and, my hubby just entered Medicare. All 3 situations have taken huge pressure off my family, so–sorry, Jack–we're doing better economically.

    Of course, if the GOP gets the WH and Congress, they'll privatize Medicare, dump the ACA, and siphon more money toward tax cuts for the wealthy and my family will be back stuck in the financial undertow that Bush II et al left us in.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  51. Paul - North Carolina

    Yes, my economy is doing just fine thanks. My wife and I are retired. I am receiving social security and she soon will be. I also have a pension and we both have IRA's which have done very well since the Bush recession ended. I realize it is still very difficult for younger working, or not, class families. All they need to remember is what got them here and how to fix the problem. Avoid Republicans at all costs, especialyy the teaarty.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  52. TomInRochNY

    Who cares if it is good or bad for Obama. Politicians (and the media for that matter) need to stop thinking about how bad news is going to effect their reelection. But, then again if politicians did that to begin with we wouldn't be in this situation, would we. This question is completely irrelevant. It doesn't matter if you're a billionaire if the economy tanks. You'll be in the same spot the rest of us will be in. Why don't you ask a more pertinent question, like when are corporations going to wake up and pay their workers a decent wage so we can drive the economy off of this slippery slope before we all go over the edge?

    Tom, Rochester, NY

    March 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  53. Andrew Wede

    If I'm receiving so called "FREE" money from the government I would probably say the economy is getting better. But if I'm like the 50% who pay taxes the economy stinks . The guestion should be are you better off than you were four years ago? And the answer is a big NO.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  54. Paul From Austin Texas

    Well how can I put it Jack NO! Some of the problems that I have are due to myself however things are less better and I do not think it would matter who is Persident or in what party is in power. We are just in a down time and if Bush would of had a third term eveyone would be out for him. The President dose not have control of gas prices unlike what we have heard in resent weels. The lizard guy could get in and nothing will change except the name of who is in charge. No matte what we do it will be hard for a while. I have been puttiing in for jobs since 2008 and have found nothing yes I am old almost 62 but I and others sitll need work.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  55. Duane North Dakota

    No Jack. I took a 30% pay cut after last job was eliminated. The upside, I was never unemployed and very thankful to be employed. That being said, Washington greed created this mess and these same idiots don't know how to fix it - imagine that. "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it." - Albert Einstein

    March 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  56. Ray in Knoxville

    Jack, as a white, southern, independent male, who's on the wrong side of 50, I'm probably going against the grain here, but yes, my personal economy is improving. I lost a good job back in 2008, when Bush was president, spent most of my savings until I finally found a job in 2010, when Obama was president. I haven't recouped all of my lost savings yet, but I am getting there.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  57. ken, atlantic city, nj

    The four out of ten americans who think the economy is improving are the same idiots who think obama is doing a good job. A 1,000. payroll tax cut borrowed from social security and a 1,000. increase in gasoline costs equals zero. Maybe bombing syria or iran will also make them feel the economy is improving.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  58. Jay

    One word Jack – NO! With a pay freeze for the last couple of years and expected to last a few more, and the rise in prices for gas and everything else, I'm CERTAINLY not seeing any 'improvement'.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  59. Jim, Denver CO

    Personally I'm holding my own. If things keep improving then I'll be alright. I just hope the Congress (both sides) can quit their infighting and do some positive things for ALL people in this country. If they don't then they'll know my dissatisfaction come November.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  60. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    A bit, because my wife got something close to a real job and because our creditors know that if they push too hard, bankruptcy is a real option.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  61. Walker in Prosperity S.C.

    Obama has brought us a long way from the precipice of financial disaster Bush had us hanging over by the time he left office, and I pray Obama will be re-elected as all I hear from everyone but Ron Paul is the same old Reagan trickle-down economic plan that has failed time and again in the past.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  62. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    my wife and I are retired in Las Vegas, Nevada which was one of the hardest hit cities during the recession. our financies are pretty stable BUT when we go out to eat dinner or play at our local casinos, we are seeing more traffic and the Leasure and Gaming industry is hiring more people.

    a couple of local contractors who live in our neighborhood tell me things have been picking up for them and the local auto dealer says he's seeing good traffic and increased sales.

    so YES thibgs are looking better BUT continued high gas prices or a further spike up could very well de-rail the whole recovery just like in 2007 which I bekieve was the REAL trigger for the 2008-09 financial metldown.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  63. John from Alabama

    Jack: My personal income has increased by 40%, and I did not get a bailout like the Bank of America, J . P. Morgan Chase, or AIG. I just retired to a better income by waiting. Jack, everything comes to him who waits. Patiemce is a virtue. Virtue is over-rated, but debt is a heart attack waiting to happen.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  64. Gigi Oregon

    We are very fortunate. With SS we do get a cost of living raise. I believe our was about $19 a month. We are retired and have a pension and Social security. We own our home with a comfortable mortgage. We did not have a million dollars in the bank or any other investment . We drive a nice car. And pay cash for our wants. We are how-ever, insurance poor. All policy's car, home and medical etc. They more than triple the cost of our mortgage. The outrageous cost of insurance is scandalous. For example medical, it comes with a co-pay, doesn't have dental except for exams, and glasses the same. Car insurance is cute too, it's better to pay for the fender bender or they will raise your premium. We should be sreaming about the cost of Insurance that really pays out little but cost is outrageous and if you did use it they would probably drop you. . The one great thing they do is pay good bonuses to the top 1% of the company.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  65. Chris from Florida

    No it is not. The cost of gas and groceries is sky-rocketing. My incomce cannot keep-up with those changes, and I add I am a saver with just one credit card. Gas is going-up and so however, is food. And Jack consider this: at the end of this year, we see the rescission legislation kick-in and the Bush Tax Cuts expire. Yep, right after the election, a huge tax-hike and massive program cuts. You think its bad now? Look over the horizon. You can bet Obama will try to keep voters from seeing how bad their personal economy is about to get, just 9 months from now.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  66. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    These polls, does anybody explain like 40 percent of WHAT? Is percent even understood? Death comes to those who wait long enough and they never see the 200 bucks !

    March 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  67. Larry Feierstein-Denver

    While there is a bit of light at the end of a tunnel, most Americans want it now cant wait. We will see peaks and valleys all year, with no real heavy changes. Its time we realize that the economy does not change on a whim. We may see less than double digit unemployement, but not under 8.5%. Gas, figure 5$ by summer, no matter who produces, its all about greed. Drilling wont change a thing.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  68. Tom Bulger

    Yes, Jack, all the while. As consumer confidence grows, people start making purchases that they had been putting off. That will have a snow ball effect and manufacturers will really start to hire. Happy times are here again. The sky above is clear again. The first depression didn't beat us and the Bush depression didn't beat us.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  69. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    Not really, but I refuse to blame President Obama for that. I blame the GOP and the Tea Party for the simple reason that they spend more time opposing the president on his attempts to bring jobs back to America, than they do actually backing him. This is why the current crop of GOP presidential candidates will not win the White House; they're too busy talking out their rear-ends.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  70. Joseph, Los Angeles CA

    Strange. My personal economy has been steadily improving through two Bush terms and one Obama term. Given all the bad news about the economy, I must be doing something wrong.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  71. Nathan C.

    I have only had one pay increase in four years due to pay freezes, and that raise was only 1%. In the same time, prices on all essentials from food to electricity have gone up, as have gas prices, my phone bill, and now my bank is even considering a new monthly checking fee. In total, I'm making less money now, when counting for inflation, than I did in 2007. So no, Jack, my personal economy is not improving.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  72. Ed from California

    It was, until Costco gas prices are at $4.30gal....... and that's for regular. Gotta love the Wall st, speculators!!!! Thank you....FCTC, for having our backs.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  73. Jason Oregon

    This Liberal knows for a fact that the middle class's economy won't recover from this depression until the republicans allow the end to the bush tax cuts so we can rebuilt our rusty, pot holed filled country. Tax the rich.
    To the point, Jack. Just the facts.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  74. Frank Scottsdale,AZ

    Jack im a small business owner in Scottsdale,AZ and my January and February months have been the best since 2008. So i do see economic improvement. I do believe Barack Obama is working on fixing the economy and will increase GDP. If republicans win the next election, God knows what will happen to the improving economy.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  75. Brian Smith

    Not improving,yet not getting worse..I made some good choices at the beginning of this recession,and have been steady ever since,not imporving,but not getting worse..I didnt use my house as an ATM either,no mortgage,no equity loans..Havent had a new car since 2003,and dont need one,so...When I am out on a Monday at 2pm,and there are lines in every store,traffic is heavy,and people are buying cars left and right,this continuation of the "bad economy",there are still PARTS of the economy that are bad,YES,but overall it is not..The main reason I know things are not as bad as 3 years or so ago,is I can REMEMBER how bad things were 3 years ago..

    March 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  76. Jack

    No ! Its All Smoke And Mirrors, For Votes

    March 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  77. donald

    No No No everything else is going up in price from gas to grocerys to utilities and insurance and even car registrations. and income is not going up. forget about savings interest its so small its almost not there.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  78. emmanuel

    You bet it is. Looking back about 4 years when the President took over the White house, who in his'her right mind will say the economy is geting worse?

    March 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  79. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    Much to the chagrin of the "Party of No", yes.....things are slowly improving. How almost half of the electorate can support a party that is so blatantly corrupt & dishonest and puts political points and personal profit ahead of the National interest is unfathomable to me.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  80. Sandstone.

    "Even if they have that much in the left, Jack, it certainly won't stay there for long. I think you know where I live, and there is not way I could make it without the Thrift-Stores, and that's how most make it; along with the Dollar store."

    March 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  81. Kim

    Yes, my personal economy has improved dramatically. I've been a freelance writer for 10 years, and my workload plummeted in late 2008 and through 2009. In 2010, many of my editors/clients, whose budgets had been downsized, started calling again and my income bounced back up. This year, I'm busier than ever. Nearly all of my writer friends have had a similar experience.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  82. keith

    im a Republican and it hurts to say 'Yes, my economy is getting better', but being in the 1% i win either way..if the economy improves under Obama, i win, if Romney wins, he will reward who put him in the oval office..i win again..the 1%

    March 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  83. Tamara, Daly City

    My personal economy is in recession. My income has fallen each year for the past three years and I have had to dig into my savings just to pay for necessities.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  84. Larry Tellin

    Yes, Jack, my personal economy is improving. Here in Huntley, IL we are experiencing the best response to our residential market since 2006. Although prices may be down from 2011 in 2012, we are seeing activity and sales up about 30% from last year. We are in a 55+ market in Sun City Huntley and our clients from the suburbs of Chicago are selling their homes and coming here to look, and "YES" to buy, their retirement homes.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  85. Kristie

    I don't see how it could. I'm one of thousands of Delphi salaried retirees who lost their health insurance and a huge percentage of their pension when the Obama administration chose winners and losers to save GM. Shall we say "Thrown under the bus" for political reasons? Yes!

    March 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  86. Lisa in Stillman Valley

    Yes. My personal that is. We grow our own vegetables, we paid off all our credit cards with ridiculous interest rates (ones that were ripping us off), refinanced our home with lower interest rate...and are teaching our dependents to do the same. No more handouts, co-signing and covering day to day expenses. If we learn to do these on our own, then we can reap the benefits our employers (corporations) are no longer providing us. We can do it!

    March 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  87. Bob in Texas

    Yes Jack, my personal economy is improving, despite the fact that our family income has remained flat. Why, we've learned that money and possessions don't bring happiness. Family and relationships are what matters, and ours has grown closer as we deal with our little day to day crisis's. We're lucky. We have a roof over our heads, sufficient food in our bellies and a little to spare for those less fortunate. Despite challenges, our children and grandchildren are doing quite well. Our personal economy is improving because our priorities are improving.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  88. Peter @ the Jersey Shore

    No Jack, it is not improving. I am an artist and commercial photographer. My work is on the lowest rung of "the disposable income food chain". You can't eat it, you can't put it in your tank and you have to love it to want it. I am eating my 401k to stay afloat with the prayer that relief will come soon!

    March 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  89. Barbara Panchision

    Please, h ow could anyone say the economy is better. I am retired and want to CRY everytime I go shopping for
    Barbara Panchision Newport News VA

    March 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  90. Cee.Louisiana

    Of coarse the GOP say its not improving they want Obama out, anyway they can. Our personal economy is about the same,This is certainly not the first time we have experienced spiking gas prices.... I remember the 70,s....but you know I am warm in the winter, cool in the Summer,I have Cable TV, to watch Cafferty,Internet, Cell phone, vegetable garden,great kids and Grandkids,car and home payed for.....its the same but I really have more......

    March 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  91. MikeM-SF

    Funny I wasn't surveyed on this topic. Probably because I was busy....oh, working! Yes my personal economy is improving!! I quit my $100K job 2 years ago to follow my dream of being a photographer. I wish I could have done it sooner. Doing what you love doesn't feel like work at all. I love it!

    March 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  92. Jody

    Jody – Allentown, Pa

    There are more Engineering jobs to apply for recently but I don't know if companies aren't hiring the unemployed or if they aren't hiring minorities. So, no, my personal economy is not improving and with the cost of things, it's getting worse. Thanks to the Conservatives, I'm not even counted as unemployed anymore. I just feel like a discarded American.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  93. Barbara Panchision

    What else can I say? NO, THE ECONOMY IS NOT BETTER

    March 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  94. Marty

    No. Each year my "cost of living increase" at work is less than the rate of inflation. So I make less money each year relative to purchases of the same goods as the year before.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  95. Marc in Toronto


    My economic picture is terrific.

    In Canada we have Universal single payer Healthcare. We have very strict banking regulations and a flourishing real estate market. We also have $5 a gallon gas, higher taxes, higher cigerette and alcohol prices but also have higher wages than our American friends to the south. Were also rated the best educated country in the world and listed among the happiest on earth.

    One more point Jack. If Americans used our tax rates and had our single payer healthcare system you would have a balanced budget and all your citizens would be covered for their medical needs at half the cost you currently pay. Our politicians debate in a much more respective manner to solve problems and are not so ideologically locked in that they can't get things done.

    I just wish Americans would look abroad to find solutions to their problems. You don't have to look far. Were right here.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  96. Lincoln

    No. Many of us that are small business owners feel the federal government just keeps giving reasons why we should not provide employment.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  97. tom kuchma from Ronkonkoma, NY

    My personal economy has not improved. I am retired, on a fixed income and the pension I receive stays the same, with no cost of living increases. The value of my home goes down as the cost of everything continues to rise. When will it get better? I am 55 years old and for as long as I can remember, all the politicians have always claimed to have the answer for all of our problems...every election, "vote for me"....and where are we? Deeper and deeper in debt...rising unemployment, out-sourced American jobs, .the time for change was a long long time ago...but it never will change.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  98. BB in PacNorthWest

    No our personal economy is not better. My spouse, a teacher has been laid off, and my income is about 1/2 what it was in 2009. On the plus side, food, gas, utilities are up, and my home is woth less. We still pay all our bills but have little left over to buy the "wants" that are beyond our "needs" and so we ca' contribute to economic growth recovery because there is so little we can spend on extras. Oh, and I'm a centrist conservative, college educated, military retiree and now self employed and really tired of the polarized extremes in Congress failing to get the business of our country done.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  99. Anthony from Swedesboro

    I'm retired and looking for gainful employment because my nest egg turned from ostrich to hummingbird. Employers can't wait to give this old geezer a job unless I want to stock shelves at Walmart for a hefty salary of eight dollars an hour and no benefits. I'm actually pondering it. Dusty, old yellowing college degrees can't get you a cup of coffee these days.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  100. deborah stanley

    Absolutely not. By the grace of God we got a contract on our home (at payoff value, 35% less than we have in it) before it went into foreclosure. Our career field is tied into the housing market in Florida, so we have been struggling for over three years. It is starting to feel like things are never going to normalize.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  101. Rebecca from Georgia

    Well, my family is not struggling. Some weeks we may be close to living paycheck to paycheck but so far we haven't had to give up anything and I thank Obama for that. If he hadn't done his job and protected us from a second Depression, I doubt we'd be getting back on our feet so quickly. Some things still need to be worked on and somethings we have no control over. By making sure we take care of what we can and leaving the rest to those with the power to do something about it, to me is a much better use of our time.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  102. Sue (From Boise, ID)

    Actually, I'm surprising myself ,Jack, by saying YES! Since my occupation is CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of my family, I ponder your question a lot.
    I'm a widow with two kids in college at the same time. I lost a huge "chunk of change" in the stock market crash back in 2008, and it's been a difficult time for about 4 years with a lot of sacrifice on my part to make sure the kids get through college. But I'm up nearly 4% this year in the market. One of my kiddos is graduating soon (aka no more monthly tuition payments), and we had no huge medical emergencies last year with any of us.
    I'm concerned with the rising price of food and I notice gas is skyrocketing over the last few weeks. I also bought a new home in 11/2010 and got a 4% 30-year fixed. I lose no sleep now as my mortgage payment & property taxes are nearly 50% less than my rent was in CA. The housing market is here, and I see a lot of new construction being snatched up by families.
    All in all, I continue to strive to make frugal choices–so I have savings– because I learned when I became a widow, that your "perfect" life can suddenly change to what you never imagined...

    March 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  103. Erin in California

    My personal economy has been and still is improving. The company I work for is still hiring and expanding, my husband, a civil engineer and contractor has seen his work picking up as well. It's happening but it's still going to take a long time to fix the disaster the Bush era left this country in.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  104. Karl in Flint, MI

    Most personal economies can improve if you shop for bargains in your life. Do you need the high-priced medicare supplement or that the overpriced dell phone plan. There are plans for both categories that can do what you need and not cost you a fortune. There are alternatives and I have found I was paying for tings I didn't need or use and now have a little left to put back in savings because of overpaying for so many years. Just shop around, I did and glad I did.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  105. Jeremy

    Yes, the last 2 years have been good to me. My job turned up the heat and as a good worker I am in a better position. I bought a home with a very low interest rate and got a god deal. I am also debt free except for my mortgage. Things are good.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  106. Holly

    No one is talking about rising food prices. My grocery bill is double what it was 2 years ago and for a family of 6 that translates to desperate times. Add that to the outrageous gas prices, my upside down mortgage, and the lack of a salary increase and it appears my own personal economy despite the San Diego beauty surrounding us is looking pretty grim.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  107. Randy

    Not unless I own a "personal" gas station and a "personal" grocery store of which I can keep the prices in line with my income. Silly question.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  108. Dave


    My personal economy is definately taking a dive. Believe it or not, we in Maryland are faced with talk of an increasing gas tax, increasing highway tolls, increasing fees on just about everything from food, container taxes to boater registration. All this at a time while the middle/working class is trying to dig out from the recession that was inherited by Obama from the GOP. What happened to the rich paying their fair share. I don't get it. When is the Middle class going to get a break?

    March 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  109. Chuck

    No I do not see it getting any better, Just as we start seeing the market on the plus side. We are only sending it back to square 1, less jobs, less travel, more layoffs. Who's side is our country on? I see it only getting just as bad in the summer /fall 2012. Think Smart American Citizens

    March 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  110. KSM

    I don't think personal economy has anything to do with the current/past/future president. It depends on how much you have invested in yourself in terms of education, savings and planning for the rainy day. Yes, my personal economy has grown, but that is not attributed to President Obama, its because of common sensical decisions to plan the flow of income and expenses while constantly upgrading my skills which have helped me get raises.

    New Jersey

    March 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  111. David Guthrie

    Nope my personal economy is getting worse by the day. I am on Social Security Fixed Income and even though we just had our first increase in the last 3 years, it still has not come close to the ravages of price increases through every part of our economy. Walmart is doing it's best to keep prices down, and some others stores as well. But, Going back to the late 70's with the big jump in oil/gas prices and through every major increase since our economy has nose dived. Now before we can begin to recover from the last major oil/gas hikes we are now in the middle of another crises.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  112. Stanford

    Well, I have been looking for a job in Michigan,but the Republicans here in Michigan are making it very tough in finding work, they (Republicans) already have cut off extended emergency benefits and cut the weeks unemployment weeks benefits from 26 weeks to 20 weeks. I just have been let go from my job in Livonia over technically. its tough to find a house and to buy a used car. I think the President is doing a good job, but I believe the Republicans are stopping him at every turn just to make him look bad and be back in office.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  113. Mark in Houston


    We're retired and yeah doing better than last year or the three before that, not a lot, but better.

    The last Republican Presidential candidate told us....as we were going over the financial cliff, that the foundations of the economy were strong. The current crop are trying to tell me that if they take away much of what has kept me afloat, and continue to give tax breaks to the wealthy, I will be better off. Their best thinking brought us 2008. I can't hear them anymore because of their actions.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  114. Loren

    No, I haven't had a real raise in about four years, while living costs continue to rise, housing value and personal wealth deteriorate and the government continues to take an even larger slice of my stagnant salary. Why do I get the sense that the President and Congress are playing the fiddle while our country burns?

    March 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  115. Kevin in Kentucky

    No, no matter how the pro Obama media tries to convince Americans the economy is turning around the fact remains Obama has done nothing to create jobs which is the key to get us out of this mess.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  116. Jake in Omaha

    Is your personal economy improving?

    A little I can afford to pay the rent and put food on the table. Savings is out of the question. Maybe if President Obama is re-elected I can start putting a bit back for a rainy day. Home ownership is just not in the cards for my family for years to come.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  117. AwakenTheSleeping

    No, and I don't expect it to change. Oil prices, unemployment, deficit and debt, uncontrolled spending by this administration – who is in charge – where does the buck stop?

    March 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  118. Jim Green, Seguin, TX

    Jack, when it comes to my personal finances–given the alternative—I’ll take my chances with Obama any day——had Obama fixed our unemployment crisis everything he has done would be bullet-proof—when he didn’t, everything has become a target—the story no one is telling is that, as a result of automation alone, since the mid-1970’s the market has been creating fewer and fewer jobs—And yet, we keep insisting the market can fix our unemployment crisis—NOT GOING TO HAPPEN…..

    March 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  119. GOP hate America

    yes Jack it has for me....by leaps and bounds. So while Republicans wish to focus on birth control pills I will vote for Obama again because the economy has gotten better since Bush left office.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  120. Jeff (St. Paul, MN)

    My personal economy is improving, slowly but surely. I am thankful to have a steady job that is close enough to allow me to commute by bicycle. That allows my family to have just one car, and save roughly $600/month (lease payment, insurance, and gas). We were also able to re-finance last fall and take advantage of the low rates (saving roughly $300/month).

    March 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  121. Annie

    No. Very blessed to still have my job, but haven't gotten a raise in 3 year (in fact, hours were cut 2 years ago... never came back). Add to that gas prices, food prices, utility prices, and things are absolutely worse than they were 3 years ago. I'm not assessing blame here, but I haven't seen the smallest improvement lately.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  122. Steve

    We're doing okay. Both my wife and I have stable, well-paying jobs, though we'd be happier if she was a full-time employee instead of a long-term contractor. We bought our dream house in December for $300k (when it was previously on the market for upwards of $750k). We just need to sell our old house so I don't have to keep up more months of double mortgage payments. I can cover them for the rest of the year (and would lease out the house long before that to cover my costs anyway), but I'd rather get rid of it and focus on our new place.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  123. Bill in North Carolina

    No, it's not improving but the constant statements from the media saying it is has kept me in good spirits.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  124. Charlie from Denville, NJ

    The current administration says, "we have inflation under control" really, how then do we explain that a gallon of gas has more than doubled in less than 4 years? Is that not inflation? For every penny a gallon of gas increases you siphon (no pun intended) about $1 Billion dollars out of the economy over the course of a year. So in less than 4 years gas has gone up about $1.80 which means we have taken about $180 billion dollars out of the economy during that time. If that's not inflation then I don't know what is.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  125. Michelle

    Yes the "overall economy" is getting stronger, but not my own and many other individuals are not seeing this growth…but I do believe it is getting better. Lots of people shopping and eating out, places are busy.Yes, only because I take every “extra pay” opportunity I get offered. I make an extra $10,000 per year doing this and no, because I have not had a raise in 2…going on 3 years. Yes I have multiple degrees, and major student debt, yes I have a job…I am a teacher. I know many districts across the country are worse off than we are…but teachers (and other public servants) will be the last to recover. Many teachers are going to the UAE to work because there are jobs there. I also have 2 kids in college and I am a single mom.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  126. Jeff in San Diego

    Well, I'm making more money now but gas prices are effecting myself and many members of my family. Someone should really do a story on wether there is a supply disruption for oil right now, or if the high prices are caused by speculators who just fear high prices in the future and are profiting off the fact they put Iran in the news every day. I think it's the latter.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  127. liz

    No and I don't see it getting better any time soon and yet all the talk is about birth control go figure.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  128. Layne Alleman

    Jack, No, and I don't see this getting better anytime soon, no matter who is elected into federal office. Our "Government" has become nothing more than a front for Corporate America, and until we, as a nation, wake-up and realize this, and truly put a stop to this madness,we'll keep racing toward this on-coming cliff. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  129. Jim


    "Republicans and conservatives are the least likely to see the glass half full."

    Get real, Jack! They're also the ones least likely to give an honest response to that question. They are hoping and praying the economy will tank just one more time before the election so their candidate might actually have a chance. You work for CNN so you're aware of recent positive reports concerning unemployment, housing, the stock market, etc. There's no question that the economy is improving and, yes, that goes for my personal economy as well. Then again, perhaps Republicans and conservatives can be forgiven for their misinformed views. They do, after all, watch FOX News.


    March 5, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  130. marybeth, massachusetts

    No, it hasn't, but then it wasn't good under Bush II and it was going down then too. I haven't had a raise in more than 7 years, but due to "downsizing" my workload has quadrupled. No, I'm not paid overtime, nor am I allowed to claim comp. time. I come in early, am not allowed to take any breaks (lunch or other), and stay late. The work load remains, but my dept. is down 4 people, and management expects and requires all of the work to be completed as if we had a full staff. Premiums and my mandatory contributions have gone up, but the insurance offers less, covers less, co-pays are higher, and services are cut. No more prescriptions. No dental. No eye exams. No "female" health-related exams. All that is extra, out of pocket expenses. Union dues have gone up too, but this union doesn't back the workers, they back management. Add the skyrocketing costs of groceries, gas, other insurance and basic living necessities, and I've taken a pay cut. Don't even get me started on taxes....they take out taxes, but provide fewer services, while my taxes go to pay corporate welfare to GE and big oil and big pharma so they can send jobs overseas, pay zero in taxes, get huge subsidies, wreck the environment, and earn billions in profits so they can buy politicians to create more loopholes and deregulate everything for them.

    I don't blame the President, I blame Congress and the greedy Wall Street industry that controls them.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  131. Joe in NJ

    Well, let's see. For the fourth straight year I haven't gotten a salary increase but gas, taxes, groceries, health care, etc. continue to go up each year. Despite this I consider myself lucky compared to some other family members who are on the brink of foreclosure. But no, my personal economy hasn't improved.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  132. Ivan

    The problem with my personal economy situation is my mortgage. I bought in 2006 and was lured into a 10 year ARM for my first mortgage. The Countrywide helped me refinance my 2nd mortgage by way over-value my house and I now owe about 20% more than my house is worth. I don't even know how high my mortgage will jump in 4 years when my arm runs out and since I owe more than the house value I cannot refinance.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  133. shoos

    Yes, my economy is improving. There was a bumpy ride due to debt and temporary unemployment in our family. Through budgeting and steady employment, we are boasting savings and a huge reduction in debt. The cost of gasoline is a concern because the basis for the price hikes are not based on basic economics. If areas like Europe and China (especially) are showing a slowdown in their economies, the prices should reflect this, but it doesn't. The way that it is priced seems almost political in nature almost preplanned without basis.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm |