Is the Economy Better Off Than a Year Ago? Most Say No

A new ABC poll finds that Americans are more pessimistic about the economy today than they were a year ago. The gap between the majority saying there is no recovery and the it's-getting-better minority has tripled, from 10 percentage points to 29 percentage points, in the last year.

Here's the key graph:

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For the record, the economy is better than it was one year ago. GDP has been expanding for more than 15 months. The Dow is up more than 1000 points. After a decade-long binge, the American consumer has been in rehab for almost two years, building up savings and spending down debt. Businesses are healthier, consumers are healthier, the economy is larger, and there are more jobs in September 2010 than September 2009.

But only barely. And that's the trouble. The labor market recovery, the most important indicator for average Americans, has been glacial at best and frozen still, at worst. The happier indicators aren't trickling down to Americans' personal experience. The unemployment rate has bobbed between 10 percent and 9.5 percent for the last year and half. Consumer confidence has slagged, and a year of steady corporate profits has done nothing to persuade average Americans that the recovery will hold -- or is real in the first place.