An uneasy feeling has crept over a majority of Americans, as six out of 10 expect a recession in 2020, an ABC News/Washington Post poll finds —a level not seen since 2007, on the eve of the worst US economic slump since the Great Depression.
This pessimism, echoed by many on Wall Street like Morgan Stanley, is a marked shift in a time of low unemployment and is synched to the growing trade war. While both China and the US have dialed back some plans for tariff hikes, few analysts see any near-term détente.
In fact, a survey of chief financial officers by Deloitte indicates that 68% believe North American economic conditions are good, which sounds heartening except it marks a six-year low.
At the same time, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s US consumer-confidence indicator this month fell below 50, the lowest reading on record.
The ABC/Post poll says that 60% of Americans believe a recession is very or somewhat likely next year, which is uncomfortably close to the 69% who held such a downbeat view in November 2007. The 2019 survey shows 35% think a recession is unlikely in 2020, and 5% had no opinion.
Along with those findings, President Donald Trump’s job approval rating fell to 33% from 44% in July, a high for his presidency. The poll also finds that by a 60% to 38% margin, people felt that the trade war would hike the prices for items they buy.
In the current poll, partisanship plays a role, with 90% of Republicans rating the economy positively, versus 52% for independents and 33% for Democrats.