September 20, 2019

Consumers have mixed feelings about the economy

The national job growth streak is now at 107 consecutive months, and household spending remains solid. Yet many consumers still have a negative assessment of the economy, according to new National Restaurant Association research.

Only 43 percent of adults describe the national economy as ‘excellent’ or ‘good,’ according to a telephone survey conducted September 12-16 by Engine for the National Restaurant Association. Fifty-three percent of adults gave the economy ratings of ‘fair’ or ‘poor.’

Economic sentiment varied significantly by age group, with millennials being the most pessimistic. Only 35 percent of millennials say the economy is in excellent or good condition, while 59 percent describe it as either fair or poor. 

Gen Xers are only slightly more bullish, with 42 percent describing the economy as excellent or good. Baby boomers are essentially split down the middle, with 50 percent giving the economy positive marks.

When it comes to their personal finances, consumer sentiment is a mixed bag. Forty-nine percent of adults say their personal finances are in excellent or good condition, while 49 percent rate them as fair or poor.

Like the overall economic assessment, uncertainty is more common among the younger generations. Forty-six percent of millennials and 47 percent of Gen Xers describe their personal finances as either excellent or good. Among baby boomers, this rises slightly to 53 percent.

Read more analysis and commentary from the Association's chief economist Bruce Grindy.