Poll finds some optimism on the economy in MinnesotaMinnesota residents are feeling a little more optimistic about the economy and their own personal finances than they did last fall, according to the latest Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.
By: Associated Press,
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota residents are feeling a little more optimistic about the economy and their own personal finances than they did last fall, according to the latest Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.
The newspaper reported today that 16 percent of those surveyed thought their family's financial situation would get worse in the next year. That's lower than last fall, when a quarter of respondents said they thought it would.
Nearly one-third of those surveyed expect their financial situations to improve over the next 12 months. Last fall, 27 percent of respondents felt that way.
The Star Tribune poll of 1,000 Minnesota adults was conducted Sept. 21-24 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
Count Larry Fronczak and Jeff Whitman among the optimists. It wasn't long ago that Fronczak didn't bother opening his retirement statements. But now, "I don't feel as pessimistic about the financial situation," said the 62-year-old retired special education teacher.
Whitman said he sees signs of recovery at the software company where he works. "We're already seeing companies loosening the purse strings a little," said the 41-year-old Minneapolis man.
While the share of optimists is growing, they are still in the minority.
"I don't think the economy has hit rock bottom yet. ... People are still losing their jobs, housing hasn't really made a big comeback," said Anita Svec, 52, of Scandia, who has been unemployed for two years.
Svec said she's lost count of the number of job applications she's filled out. "The job market is completely dry," she said. "It's like a desert out there."
The national unemployment rate hit 9.7 percent in August; Minnesota's was 8.0 percent.
Kara Scheck, a stay-at-home mother from Delano, said that although her husband is still working, she suspects her family will experience a lower standard of living in the next 12 months.
That's because she is expecting a big tax increase that will hit workers' paychecks. "He's got to pay for all of this somehow," she said, referring to President Barack Obama's stimulus projects.
Scheck is among the 38 percent of those surveyed who disapprove of how Obama is handling the nation's economy. About half of those polled said they approved of Obama's economic policies, while the rest were undecided.
"It was a challenging situation he inherited, and I think he responded quickly, and it seems like, at least at present, things are turning around," said Leslie King-Schultz, a 29-year-old medical student from Rochester.
The recession has directly touched about two-thirds of Minnesota residents, according to the poll. That's the percentage of respondents who said that they or their spouses had experienced one or more of the following: lost a job, absorbed a cut in pay or benefits, postponed retirement, taken on more debt or changed vacation plans in the past 12 months.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com