Looking at the overall economy, things have drifted downwards over the past month. While about two in five (42%) expect that the economy will stay the same in the coming year, three in ten (31%) say it will get worse and 27% believe it will improve. Last month, three in ten (29%) expected the economy to improve in the coming year, 27% expected it to get worse and 44% said it will stay the same.
The job market
While the unemployment numbers may be slowly drifting down, attitudes towards the job market overall are not following. Almost half of Americans (46%) rate the current job market in their region of the country as bad, while three in ten (31%) say it is neither good nor bad and less than one-quarter (23%) say it is good. Over half of Easterners (52%) say the job market in their region is bad, compared to 43% of those in the South.
Looking ahead, there is not much hope as just over half of U.S. adults (52%) say they believe the job market in their region of the country will remain the same over the next six months, while one-quarter believe it will get better (25%) and one-quarter of Americans (24%) believe it will get worse. In February of this year, the same number of Americans believed the job market would remain the same (52%) but almost three in ten (28%) though it would get better and 19% believed it would get worse.
One-third of Americans (34%) currently have a 401(k), and while the stock market had its downs in 2008 and its ups more recently, many nervous investors looked at their statements with trepidation. A common question was: should changes be made to the plan, or would keeping the status quo be the way to go? Among those who have a 401(k) plan, just one-quarter made changes when the stock market dropped in 2008 (24%), while three in five (59%) did not; almost one in five of current 401(k) plan participants did not have one in 2008 (17%).
Looking at those who made changes versus those who didn't, both groups did well. Seven in ten 401(k) plan participants who made changes (71%) say the amount of their plan is up when compared to before the drop in the stock market; 58% of those who did not make changes say the same. In fact, one in five of all plan holders (19%) say they have seen an increase of over 10% (19% of those who made changes and 18% of those who did not). One in five plan holders have seen the value of their 401(k)s go down (21%), while 18% have seen no change.
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