Americans aren’t happy with the state of the economy — or the man in charge.
A new survey out Friday found consumer sentiment at its lowest level in more than a decade amid the highest annual inflation increase in four decades — while a separate poll indicates one-third of Americans don’t like anything President Biden has done while in office.
The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index — which measures how optimistic buyers are about their finances and the economy — came in at 61.7 for February, an 8.2 percent drop from January, a 19.7 percent plummet from February of last year, and the lowest figure since October 2011 (60.9).
Americans were only slightly more optimistic about current economic conditions. That index figure stood at 68.5, a decline of 20.5 percent from this time last year. On the other hand, consumers appear to dread what’s coming next, as the future expectations index fell to 57.4 from 70.7 last year — a drop of 18.8 percent.
“The recent declines have been driven by weakening personal financial prospects, largely due to rising inflation, less confidence in the government’s economic policies, and the least favorable long term economic outlook in a decade,” surveys director Richard Curtin said.
“The impact of higher inflation on personal finances was spontaneously cited by one-third of all consumers, with nearly half of all consumers expecting declines in their inflation adjusted incomes during the year ahead,” Curtin added.
“In addition, fewer households cited rising net household wealth since the pandemic low in May 2020, largely due to the falling likelihood of stock price increases in 2022.”
Friday’s survey came out one day after the Labor Department announced that its Consumer Price Index jumped 7.5 percent in January over the previous year, the highest annual increase since February 1982.
The inflation rate translates to an additional $276 a month in expenses for an average American household, according to an estimate by Moody’s Analytics.
“Increases in the indexes for food, electricity and shelter were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in a statement.
Hours after the pricing data was released, CNN dropped a poll that found just 41 percent of Americans approved of Biden’s job performance and 58 percent disapproved.
Most damningly, however, 56 percent of Biden disapproves (about 33 percent of the overall sample) came up empty when asked by pollsters to think of one thing the president had done that they liked.
“I’m hard pressed to think of a single thing he has done that benefits the country,” one respondent wrote of Biden in the survey, according to CNN.
“He’s not Donald [T]rump. That’s pretty much it,” answered another.
In more bad news for Biden, the CNN poll found that 62 percent of respondents disapprove of his handling of the economy, up from 42 percent disapproval in late April. Just 37 percent approved of Biden’s economic policies, down from 51 percent in the same late April survey.
According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Biden’s approval rating currently stands at 40.6 percent, below the average approval rating of former President Donald Trump both at this point in his term (41.8 percent) and at the conclusion of his four years in office (41.1 percent ).