Recent economic data indicate the U.S. is enjoying a robust jobs market, steady economic growth, and cooling inflation following the short recession owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, according to polling data, attitudes towards the economy are not improving and many households report a general dissatisfaction with the state of the economy. There seems to be a disconnect between the state of the economy and Americans’ sentiment, so what is causing the divide and why does it matter?
On January 10, the Economic Studies program at Brookings convened an event to discuss why Americans are down on the economy despite its apparent strength. Jason Furman, Harvard Kennedy School economics professor and former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, opened the event. Following his framing remarks, Sara Eisen, CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” and “Money Movers” co-anchor, moderated a conversation with University of Michigan economics professor and Brookings nonresident fellow Justin Wolfers, Wall Street Journal Chief Economics Commentator Greg Ip, and The Conference Board’s chief economist Dana Peterson. Ben Harris, vice president and director of the Economic Studies program at Brookings, provided closing remarks.