Despite signs that the economy is improving, concern in Millionaire households about the prolonged economic recovery is at recession levels, according to a new first quarter wealth level study conducted by Millionaire Corner.
Seventy-eight percent of Millionaires said they are concerned about the economy’s slow recovery, up from 70 percent in 2011, and approaching levels reached in 2010 and 2009 (80 percent and 79 percent, respectively).
Recent economic reports have been cause for cautious optimism. The economy added a better than expected 227,000 jobs in February, while job gains in January and December were revised upward by 61,000. The unemployment rate remains at 8.3 percent, but this was because more people are looking to join the workforce (long-term unemployed people are not counted by the Labor Department because they have given up looking for jobs).
But Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in testimony late last month before the House Financial Services Committee, said that the nation’s prolonged economic recovery would remain slow for the next several years. Challenges, such as rising gas prices that inhibit consumer spending, stagnant wages, layoffs in the public sector, and borrowers’ difficulties securing loans, “have weighed on financial conditions and global economic growth,” Bernanke told lawmakers, “and problems in U.S. housing and mortgage markets have continued to hold own not only construction and related industries, but also household wealth and confidence.”
Here, too, there could be signs for hope. Builder confidence in the housing market is at a five year high, according to a survey released Monday by the National Association of Home Builders.
But among the more than 1,300 Millionaires we surveyed, a prolonged economic recovery is a national issue of increasing concern, particularly among baby boomers ages 55-64 (80 percent), who expressed heightened concern about maintaining their current financial position (69 percent, up from 61 percent in 2011) and the financial situation of their children or grandchildren (70 percent, up from 61 percent).
Across occupational groups, the prolonged economic recovery is also a primary concern of senior corporate executives (85 percent vs. 65 percent in 2011), managers (86 percent vs. 65 percent), and professionals (78 percent, up from 75 percent). Business owners are perhaps more optimistic. Seventy-two percent expressed concern about the rebound of the economy, down from 76 percent who were concerned about this issue last year.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.