A quarter of Americans believe a major recession is coming in the next year

Larry Shannon-MissalHead of Data Services, US
September 19, 2019, 1:01 PM GMT+0

46 percent of Americans feel President Donald Trump’s economic policies are making a recession more likely

Many Americans continue to believe the country is nearing a major economic recession, according to new YouGov data.

One in four US adults (25%) believe a major recession will occur within the next year. That’s down slightly from 29 percent last month, but remains up vs. 18 percent in July.

Just under three in 10 registered voters (29%) feel we’re within 12 months of a major recession, which is also down from last month (33%).

Though moderate drops in recession worries can be seen across many subsets, generational splits tell a more varied story. Gen Xers’ concerns remain unchanged, with 25 percent each in August and September saying they believe one is on the way within the next year. Millennials are more likely to share this concern than last month (29%, up from 24%), while the concern has ebbed markedly among Baby Boomers (23%, down from 35%).

Turning to political divides, concerns have declined since last month among both parties (most substantially among Republicans), though leanings still correlate with very different outlooks:

- Over four in 10 Democrats (44%) believe a recession is a year or less away, down from just under half (48%) last month.

- Very few Republicans (6%) share this concern, with a notable drop form August (16%).

- Independents show little change from last month, with one in four concerned about this (25%, vs. 26% last month).

Perceived preparedness largely unchanged, though Millennials show growing concerns.

When indicating how prepared they feel personally for a major economic recession (regardless of whether they feel one is coming or not), 44 percent of Americans feel very or somewhat prepared and 43 percent describe themselves as not very or not at all prepared (relatively unchanged vs. 43% prepared and 45% not last month). Half (50%) of registered voters feel prepared, which is also unchanged from last month.

- Here, too, Millennials prove to be outliers, perhaps not surprisingly given their less established positions within the marketplace. 37 percent of Millennials feel personally prepared to face a recession, down from 41 percent last month.

- Just over a third of Gen Xers (35%) feel prepared, with little change from August (37%).

- This sentiment has grown among Boomers, with over half (54%) feeling personally prepared for a recession, vs. 48% last month.

Americans remain more pessimistic national preparedness writ large, with only 27 percent (unchanged from August) feeling the United States is prepared for a major economic recession and 58 percent (similar to 59 percent last month) feeling the country is “not very” or “not at all” prepared.

Moving the needle

Forty six percent of Americans and just over half (51%) of registered voters believe President Donald Trump’s economic policies are making a recession more likely. As with other findings there’s an unsurprising partisan split:

  • Nearly four out of five Democrats (78%) say the president’s policies are making a recession more likely, with six in 10 (60%) specifying his policies are making it much more likely. Only 6 percent say that Trump’s economic policies are making a recession less likely.
  • A plurality of Independents are inclined to agree, though to a decidedly more muted degree. Over four in 10 (43%) believe his economic policies are making a recession more likely, while a robust three in 10 (30%) indicate that his policies are making this less likely.
  • In marked contrast, a 52 percent majority of Republicans believe the president’s economic policies are making a recession less likely while two in ten (20%) believe his policies are making this more likely.

As might be expected given Democrats’ higher likelihood to see a recession on the horizon, an overwhelming 85 percent majority of those who believe we’ll see a recession within the next year indicate that the president’s economic policies are making this more likely.