MSU survey: Consumer confidence in state near all-time high
Consumer confidence in Michigan is approaching record levels, according to a quarterly survey released by Michigan State University on Wednesday.
Sixty percent of residents rated their financial situation as good or excellent, the highest number since 2002 when the top mark of 66 percent was recorded. In addition, 69 percent believe they’ll be better off a year from now, off from a high of 72 percent in 1999.
Those numbers correspond with a robust employment picture. About 450,000 jobs have been added since Michigan’s economy bottomed out in early 2010, and the state’s unemployment rate finally drew even with the national rate this spring.
But Michigan is still 400,000 jobs below its peak level reached in 2000, and the distribution of income is much more unequal than it was a few decades ago, said Charles Ballard, a professor of economics at MSU who was director of the study.
“Is Michigan’s economy back? This is a classic case of a glass that is half full and half empty,” Ballard said. “Although the state’s economy has made big strides in the past six years, the losses of the first decade of this century were huge, and continue to resonate.”
Dip for governor
Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Snyder’s approval rating dropped in the spring, with 36 percent saying his performance was excellent or good, off two points from the fall survey.
“Snyder is a self-described nerd,” Ballard said. “He’s not a media rock star, nor does he try to be. His technocratic approach has much to recommend it, but it does not generate a lot of excitement. Thus, his favorable ratings have never been extraordinarily high.”
Ballard said the timing of the survey, “taken at a time of the debacle associated with the failure of the road funding ballot initiative,” contributed to Snyder’s lackluster rating.
He said another factor is the unevenness of recent economic growth.
“Growth has been unbalanced, with much bigger gains at the top of the income scale than at the bottom. So it’s not necessarily surprising that his favorable ratings are only 22 percent among those with household incomes below $20,000, and only 31 percent among those with household incomes between $20,000 and $50,000,” he said.
As Snyder’s rating slipped, President Barack Obama’s approval ratings in Michigan improved, from 35 percent in the fall to 40 percent now.
Race played a factor. For the state as a whole, Obama received a “poor” rating from 33 percent. However, 38 percent of whites gave the president a poor rating, while only 7 percent of blacks did.
The telephone survey of 966 Michigan adults was conducted between March 26 and June 22. The margin of error is 3.15 percent. The survey has been conducted since 1994 by the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, a unit of MSU’s College of Social Science.
Posted with permission from Crain’s Detroit Business.
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