Attitudes Toward Economy Are ‘Bleak’ in Many Advanced Countries, Survey Shows

A sharp majority of people in countries across Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region have “sharply negative” attitudes toward the state of the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new international survey released on Thursday.

The nonpartisan Pew Research Center polled adults in 14 advanced countries, finding that a median of 68% of respondents view the economic situation in their country as bad. In the United States, 69% of those polled said the situation is currently bad, as the COVID-19 crisis continues to slow down the economy around the world.

Only Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden saw a majority of respondents say the current economic situation in their country is good. A majority of those polled in all other countries surveyed said the situation is bad, with respondents in Italy, Spain and France seeing percentages above 80%.

“Assessments of national economies have seen swift downturns in many countries, and few seeimprovements anytime soon amid what the International Monetary Fund calls a ‘crisis like no other’,” the report reads, referencing a New York Times article. In nearly every country surveyed, perceptions of the economy are related to assessments of how the pandemic has been handled, which Pew analyzed in greater detail in another report released on Aug. 27.

Among the 12 countries that were also surveyed by Pew in 2019, the share of adults who view their country’s financial situation as bad has risen sharply since. Canada saw a 34 percentage point rise compared to last year, while Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States each saw increases of at least 30 percentage points. The smallest increase — 11 percentage points — compared to 2019 occurred in Sweden, which has not imposed strict COVID-19 c measures, according to Pew.

Many respondents also do not see the situation getting any better in the near future. Pew found that a median of 46% expect the economic situation in their country to worsen over the next year, while 19% expect it to remain the same.

This poor outlook amid the pandemic has been echoed in official reports from international organizations. The International Monetary Fund in June projected that global economic growth will decline 5% this year — a much grimmer forecast than its previous projections in April. The IMF also projected real gross domestic product growth to decline 8% in advanced economies in 2020. In another June forecast, the World Bank projected a 5.2% contraction in global GDP this year.

The Pew Research Center compiled its report through nationally representative phone surveys of 14,276 adults, conducted from June 10 to Aug. 3. The countries surveyed were Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S.

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