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Mentions of economic problems in U.S. lowest since 1999

Staff Writer |
Americans' concerns about the U.S. economy are, by one measure, the lowest in 18 years.

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Fifteen percent of Americans mention an economic issue when asked to name the most important problem facing the country.

The percentage mentioning the economy has been lower only once in Gallup's 25-year trend - 13% in 1999 during the dot-com boom.

It was similar, at 16%, in late 2006 and early 2007, before the recession and during the Iraq War.

Gallup began asking Americans to name the most important problem facing the country, using an open-ended question format, in 1939.

Since 1992, it has computed a summary measure designed to assess economic concerns - the percentage of Americans mentioning an economic issue as the most important problem.

Economic mentions peaked at 86% in February 2009, as the Great Recession continued and newly inaugurated President Barack Obama dealt with the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis.

The economy remained a top concern for several more years, with at least half of Americans mentioning an economic issue as the most important problem through August 2013.

Other recent periods of heightened economic concern include 1992, when the 1990-1991 recession made the economy a major issue in the presidential election campaign, and mid-2003 as unemployment rose.

The current results are based on a Nov. 2-8 Gallup poll. Among the specific economic issues Americans mention today are the economy in general (4%), unemployment (4%), taxes (2%) and the federal budget deficit (2%), among others.


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