A growing share of Americans expect a decline in gas prices

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
August 16, 2022, 5:53 PM GMT+0

Findings from the latest Economist/YouGov poll show that the recent decline in inflation hasn’t stopped Americans from worrying about inflation's impact, or helped them cope with what is still one of the highest rates of inflation in decades. But there are still a few hopeful – though small – economic signs. Fewer people (a drop of 3 percentage points from last week) now say the economy is in “poor” shape. As for the number of jobs, most Americans say they are increasing or staying the same – though 25% say the number of jobs has decreased.

Inflation remains a major concern for many Americans. Compared to other issues, inflation and prices is cited by the largest number of people as their most important issue, and 46% think inflation will be even higher in six months.

However, lowered gas prices are being noticed. Just over one in three (37%) see them continuing to rise in the next six months, compared to 44% who expected them to rise last month.

But the country is still in a recession, according to six in 10 adults. That perception is driven by high inflation. While 45% say the economy is shrinking (one definition of a recession), down 4 points from a month ago, the growth (or shrinkage) of the economy isn’t the measure most people use when judging whether or not there is a recession. Just 25% cite the change in size of the economy as the best indicator of recession, while 44% say it is the prices of goods and services they buy.

Many have felt the impact of prices: 42% have delayed making a purchase because of rising prices, while 35% have bought something in fear that prices would continue to rise. One in five Americans have done both, and two-thirds have done at least one of them.

— Carl Bialik contributed to this article.

This poll was conducted on August 7 - 9, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll.

Image: Erik Mclean / Unsplash

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