Poll Shows Generally Rosy View of Personal Finances

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American voters are upbeat about their financial situations as the U.S. labor market is slowly improving, according to Morning Consult’s February polling of working-age people.

The sunny attitude is virtually unmoved from Morning Consult’s January poll.

The February jobs report released Friday showed that employment is picking up, with 242,000 new jobs added to the market. That’s well above the levels from January, which was a disappointing 172,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised its numbers from both December and January, showing that job growth was actually stronger than analysts originally thought. The new jobs created in December went from 262,000 to 271,000. The change for January was revised from the original 151,000 figure.

People are similarly upbeat about their own bank accounts. Almost half of poll respondents (47 percent) say their financial situations will get better in the next six months, and 36 percent say it will stay about the same. Very few (11 percent) expect their financial situations to deteriorate.

Black and Hispanic voters are much cheerier than their white counterparts, which is ironic considering white households have more than 10 times the wealth of black and Latino households. Even so, 61 percent of Latino and African American respondents say they expect their financial situation to improve this year. Only 45 percent of white respondents feel as optimistic.

The differences are even starker among respondents who expect their financies to get “much better.” Almost one-third of African Americans (30 percent) and 26 percent of Hispanics are expecting big improvements in their finances, while only 14 percent of whites are expecting a windfall.

If people are employed, they appear secure in their jobs. Most think that their employers will keep their workforces the same size (53 percent) or hire more workers (29 percent). They expect to be working either the same number of hours (41 percent) or more hours (44 percent).

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People also expect to move up the career ladder rather than down it. While 22 percent of respondents said they expect to work at the same job for the same pay throughout the year, more than one-third said they expected to work more hours for more money (12 percent), get a bonus or pay increase at their current job (13 percent), or take a different job for more money (10 percent.)

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The poll was conducted throughout February among 9,391 working-age registered voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point.

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