WASHINGTON — Inflation has reached its lowest point in 2 1/2 years. The unemployment rate has stayed below 4% for the longest stretch since the 1960s. And the U.S. economy has repeatedly defied predictions of a coming recession. Yet according to a raft of polls and surveys, most Americans hold a glum view of the economy, according to an Associated Press report.
The disparity has led to befuddlement, exasperation and curiosity on social media and in opinion columns.
Last week, the government reported that consumer prices didn’t rise at all from September to October, the latest sign that inflation is steadily cooling from the heights of last year. A separate report showed that while Americans slowed their retail purchases in October from the previous month’s brisk pace, they’re still spending enough to drive economic growth.
Even so, according to a poll last month by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, about three-quarters of respondents described the economy as poor. Two-thirds said their expenses have risen. Only one-quarter said their income has.
The disconnect poses a political challenge for President Joe Biden as he gears up for his re-election campaign. Polls consistently show that most Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy.