What’s Your Economic Outlook?

The New York Times published an interesting interactive tool today allowing users to provide their opinions on the American economy. The tool then plots each user’s position amongst a group of one hundred other random people, based on their relative optimism or pessimism on four different categories.

The tool also allows users to sort responses by age, sex, and employment status. The results are fascinating, especially when you sort responses by employment status, sex, and age.

I’ve included my responses to three of the four categories below. I’d like to say that I’m optimistic about the economy. Unfortunately, I am not.

On Upcoming Spending Plans

Source: The New York Times

On Next Year’s Economy

Source: The New York Times

On the Next Generation’s Job Prospects

Source: The New York Times

I look forward to hearing your responses, if I did not already thoroughly depress you.

About Sean Patrick Hazlett

Finance executive, engineer, former military officer, and science fiction and horror writer. Editor of the Weird World War III anthology.
This entry was posted in Business, Finance and Economics, Media, Policy, Politics, Technology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to What’s Your Economic Outlook?

  1. Crimson Wife says:

    Interesting tool, thanks for sharing! I came out somewhat negative on the 3 items you have listed. I think I chose “wary”, “uncertain”, and “anxious” as the adjectives.

    The one thing I think the NYT should’ve included was whether the responder was unemployed voluntarily (e.g. retirees, students, stay-at-home parents, etc.) or involuntarily. Lumping the two groups together I think is going to skew the results.

  2. james kelly says:

    You needed to take a test to find out how you feel?
    Yet another time waster, a red herring, yet more muddying of the waters.
    Another tool for divisive politicking.
    Remember, as far as anyone knows, all economies are cyclical. Keynes, Marx, Friedman, whomever.
    It’s an unavoidable consequence of growth.
    One thing that is undeniable: the shuttered businesses on Main Street are a direct result of the loss of good paying jobs.
    The best answer is most likely a thoughtful mix of economic philosophies.
    You know, like New England boiled dinner is tasty, but plain boiled cabbage is bleh.
    Or your neighbors annoying mutt is still going strong at 18 years of age, but your pedigreed Irish Setter died at 7 despite near weekly vet visits.
    As long as free citizens understand this, there will be hope for the American economy.
    J.K. (Optimistic, by choice)

    • I wish I could be as optimistic as you. I am guessing you are a baby boomer, because that generation had things far easier than mine. Markets and housing prices nearly always increased, and international competition was much weaker. Two years after I graduated college, the tech bubble burst. Three years later, 9/11 happened. Since my graduation, our country fought 4 wars (Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya), and financial markets collapsed in 2008. Nothing good has ever happened to my generation. Expecting things to change is simply too unrealistic to me, based on my experience. I sincerely hope you are right, because the misery needs to end.

      • Scott Erb says:

        Oh, it’s worse than that. My generation (I turned 21 the year Reagan became President and about the time the massive run up in public and private debt began) has had a thirty year party. We’re leaving you and those younger than you the bill. Sorry about that, but it was fun while it lasted 🙂

        That said, I think a lot of people your age had a pretty good run in the late nineties and early 2000s. The 2001 recession was short, unemployment low and the tech bubble quickly replaced by the real estate bubble. 2004-06 was the height of consumerism in the US. I think one reason you experienced the recent past more negatively is the fact that the gap between the experiences of people like you in the military and those who were not is great. Military folk had to endure multiple deployments and stresses on families and lives while many others were obliviously running up consumer debt and enjoying the bubble economy. President Bush said people should show their patriotism by going shopping — something many Americans embraced with gusto!

  3. Scott Erb says:

    Economies run in cycles, but I don’t think this is a cyclical downturn but rather a structural rebalancing of the global economy due to globalization and exceedingly high debt levels (public and private) throughout the developed world. There is a massive de-leveraging taking place that could go on for years, especially without concerted action to try to correct the imbalances. That said I think the loss of good middle class jobs is a real structural barrier to US economic growth. Moreover, tax cuts to the wealthiest did not lead to job creation so much as bubble economies that were unsustainable. We’ve got to figure out how to turn that around — and I’m not ruling anything out, ideology-driven understandings of reality tend to overly simplistic views of reality. I’ll listen to libertarians, neo-Marxists, neo-liberals, the left and the right….

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