54% of Households Have Someone Who's Been Without Work This Year

Some commentators who take the economy's temperature by watching Wall Street just don't understand why consumers are so bummed. Look, they say, GDP is up! The S&P looks awesome! Hello, retail stocks! Well, yes. GDP is growing. The S&P is up 70% year-over-year. Retail stocks look nice. But this misses a bigger picture. Consumers are people, and consumer confidence grows from an improving labor market.

So maybe this helps put things in perspective. In a new Pew survey, more than half of respondents said someone in the house has been without a job and looking for work in the past year. Nine months after the economy stopped shrinking, this is what a bummed recovery looks like:

Annie Lowrey, who passes along this telling chart, also points to the 70 percent who reported major financial difficulty in the last year, including trouble paying for rent or health care. For analysts who wonder why consumers sound so depressed every time we ask for their opinion: please look at this chart carefully.




Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Business

Just In