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A Brighter Outlook, But Not On Jobs


The Optimism Meter clocked in at 55 on Mar. 9, up from 53 a week earlier. Despite the overall increase, Americans remain decidedly bearish on U.S. employment: 46% describe the prospect of finding a new job as “very hard.”

Each of the charts that follow measures one of the four different components of the Optimism Meter: economic growth, jobs, equity markets, and real estate. Like the Optimism Meter, the components appear on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 representing the highest level of optimism.ECONOMIC GROWTH: THE GOOD NEWS—AND THE BAD

HIGHLIGHT: Bloomberg’s survey of 57 economists estimates that U.S. gross domestic product will expand by 3% a year in both 2010 and 2011. Thirty-seven percent of respondents think the economy will get worse, and only 23% see improvement ahead.JOBS: RECOVERY WILL TAKE A WHILE

HIGHLIGHT: Forty-six percent of individuals say that if they lost their job, it would be very hard to find a new one that paid as much. That’s down from 48% one week earlier. Economists predict that unemployment will average 9.1% in 2011, down from an average 9.8% in 2010.EQUITY MARKETS: WILL THE RALLY CONTINUE?

HIGHLIGHT: The volatility of the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index continued its year-to-date decline. Just 17% of individuals expect the stock market to fall over the next 12 months.REAL ESTATE: SLOW BUT STEADY IMPROVEMENT

HIGHLIGHT: Sixty-two percent of YouGov survey respondents said that they believed their homes wouldn’t lose value over the next year. Twenty-seven percent think real estate has yet to hit a bottom.

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