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A new survey says Granite Staters aren’t feeling great about the economy

A sign on a sidewalk in Manchester reads: "MOE'S - Congratulations - NOW HIRING" and includes a graduation cap.
Gabriela Lozada

A new survey from the University of New Hampshire finds a majority of Granite Staters feel their household is in a worse place financially compared to a year ago and things won’t fare any better within the next year — for their own households, New Hampshire businesses and the U.S. economy.

Andy Smith, who directs the University of New Hampshire’s Survey Center and has tracked consumer confidence among New Hampshire residents since 2001, said the results from this year are similar to those from 2007, right before the Great Recession.

Negative consumer perception, he said, is likely being spurred by soaring energy costs and rising inflation. Even though the survey results gauge Granite Staters’ outlooks, he said they could still indicate an economic downturn.

“All of the signals are flashing red for the U.S. economy in the eyes of the residents of New Hampshire,” he said. “A lot of this tends to be self fulfilling: If people expect things to be bad, they’ll change their behavior to reduce spending. That reduction of spending actually causes the economy to drop."

According to the survey, 87% of Granite Staters expect their personal finances will stay the same or get worse within a year. Republicans reported more negative feelings about their personal finances compared to Independents and Democrats: 81% of New Hampshire Republicans surveyed consider themselves worse off financially a year ago, while 67% of Independents and 40% of Democrats felt the same.

But Smith said even New Hampshire Democrats’ perceptions of the health of the economy and their personal finances are at a low.

“There’s a partisan difference in how people feel,” he said. “It’s been increasingly the case that even that difference has narrowed.”

The results also show Granite Staters are even more pessimistic about the U.S. economy than the local economy, and less than one-fifth of respondents think New Hampshire’s businesses will fare well in the upcoming year.

Wealth is another determining factor for how Granite Staters responded to the survey. Nearly half of respondents with a household income below $75,000 said they expect to be worse off a year from now — and that sentiment has remained at similar levels since August. Meanwhile, only 28% of respondents earning more than $75,000 anticipate that they will be worse off in a year, an improvement from 45% reporting the same in August.

Jeongyoon joins us from a stint at NPR in Washington, where she was a producer at Weekend Edition. She has also worked as an English teacher at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, helped produce podcasts for Hong Kong Stories, and worked as a news assistant at WAMC Northeast Public Radio. She's a graduate of Williams College, where she was editor in chief of the college newspaper.
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