The Economic-Gloom Watch

Even as Americans express gloom about the national economy, the saving grace has been a comparatively positive view of their personal financial condition. A Gallup poll finds that even this bright spot has dimmed, though.

Asked whether they’re better off or worse off financially than they were a year ago, 55 percent of adults now say they’re worse off, vs. 26 percent saying they’re better off. As the polling firm says in its analysis of the data, this marks “the first time in Gallup’s 32-year history of asking the question that more than half of Americans give this pessimistic assessment.”

The one shred of good news in the same survey is that 52 percent believe they’ll be better off financially a year from now, vs. 31 percent expecting to be worse off. But even this positive finding isn’t quite so cheery when you note that the “better off” tally stood much higher, at 69 percent in 2002, when the economy was emerging from the last recession. Then again, it’s better now than the 42 percent recorded during the recession of the early 1990s.