More and more evidence is piling up that the so-called economic recovery is a complete mirage for the average American. Further proof comes in a new national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center from August 20th through 24th among 1,501 U.S. adults reports that the general public assessment of jobs being available in their local communities is up slightly, but overall economic optimism remains stubbornly low.

American Jobs

Moreover, just 21% of respondents to the new Pew survey considered current economic conditions as excellent or good, and 79% rated conditions as only fair or poor. It should be noted that the current economic conditions metric is, however, up slightly from January of this year when a mere 16% gave a positive view of economic conditions.

Americans falling behind financially

One of the most troubling findings in the new Pew survey is that the rate of Americans falling behind financially remains stuck at 56%. This statistic hit an all time-low of 57% during the financial crisis of 2008, and refuses to budge upwards despite all of the economic “good news” over the last six years. This depressing situation is a stark reminder that the so-called economic recovery has only benefited corporations and the wealthy to date.

American Jobs Economic recovery Falling Behind Financially
Falling Behind Financially

Lower income families disproportionately impacted

Another worrisome statistic is the fact that more than 45% of the families surveyed reported they have experienced one or more serious financial hardships within the last 12 months. Moreover, among families with lower incomes (less than $30,000 a year), a solid two-thirds (66%) have had to deal with at least one serious financial issue.

Falling behind financially but Jobs situation gradually improving

In one piece of good news in the Pew survey, almost 33% of the Americans surveyed report there are plenty of jobs available where they live, and 58% feel that jobs are difficult to find. The number of respondents saying jobs are available is trending up slightly from 29% in July and 27% in April. Of note, back in December 2012, only 22% of respondents said there were plenty of jobs locally.

Who Has Experienced Financial Problems?

Little Change Post-Recession in Numbers Experiencing Financial Hardships

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Only Those with Incomes Over $75,000 Feel They’re At Least ‘Staying Even’