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Americans' confidence in big business is low

Staff writer |
A majority of Americans say large U.S. companies do a poor job in helping the U.S. economy, with 43 percent saying the companies are weak in creating jobs for Americans, Gallup found in a poll.

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The poll comes amid a still flagging U.S. economy in terms of jobs growth, with continuing high U.S. unemployment nationwide, except in areas such as Washington D.C., where the local economy remains strong.

Americans see large U.S. companies as having a more positive effect overseas than they do domestically, with 66 percent of Americans believing that large U.S. companies do a good job creating good jobs for citizens in countries outside the United States, Gallup found.

Americans in general have a less-than-stellar image of big business, with a mere 22 percent in previous Gallup polls saying they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in big business -- one of the lowest confidence ratings of any of the institutions Gallup has tested, Gallup said.

Americans do seem to recognize that large U.S. companies contribute in some areas, and are most positive about large companies' ability to create important new products and technologies, Gallup said.

Clearly the public is skeptical of the benefits provided by America's large companies for their home country -- even while conceding that these organizations create new products and technologies and help the countries overseas where they operate, Gallup found.

In sharp contrast, previous Gallup polls show that 65 percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in small business.

Asked in the current survey whether big businesses or small businesses make the greater contribution to developing new products and technologies in the United States, Americans again prefer small over big by 60 percent to 35 percent, respectively, Gallup found.

Even though Americans rate large U.S. companies positively overall for their creation of new products, they get much less credit on this dimension when compared with small businesses, Gallup found.

One major challenge for large U.S. companies is to convince Americans that they help the U.S. economy as much as they do economies overseas, Gallup found.

Demonstrating their economic contribution domestically compared with small businesses is another challenge.

Americans have a positive image of small businesses and give them more credit than big businesses for creating new products and technologies in the United States, Gallup found.

To counter this perception, large businesses need to document their contributions to the innovations and products that grow the U.S. economy. That includes reminding the public that growth among large companies usually leads to development in the small businesses that supply them and that small businesses gain when large companies increase workforces, Gallup said.

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