Optimism highest in the youngest or wealthiest households
America’s ultra-wealthy are not optimistic about the direction of the economy, according to a new Millionaire Corner wealth level study of households with a net worth of at least $25 million (not including primary residence).
Just over three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents said that the economic collapse and the overall economy have been a major concern over the past two years, while less than one-quarter (23 percent) believe it is improving. Just over one-third (38 percent) feel the economy will improve in the next six months to a year. The same percentage believes that taxes should be raised for those who earn in excess of $1 million.
The latest economic reports will do little to ease their concerns. The economy added a disappointing 96,000 jobs in August, and though the unemployment rate dipped to 8.1 percent, that is because more long-term out of work people have given up on finding a job, and so are not counted by the government as unemployed.
Government reports released Friday offered mixed economic news. Industrial production in August dropped 1.2 percent, the largest amount since March 2009. On the other hand, business inventories grew 0.8 percent in July, up from 0.1 percent in June. Retail sales rose in August from July, but this was due mostly to higher gas prices and new car and truck purchases. Grocery store, online retail and sporting good sales were unchanged, while sales at general merchandise, clothing and electronic stores dropped. Consumer prices rose 0.6 percent last month, and have risen 1.7 percent overall over the past year, an indication that inflation is being kept in check.
Older baby boomers, ages 56-65 are the most concerned about the economy, with 87 percent saying that the downturn and direction of the economy has been a primary concern over the past two years. Younger ultra-wealthy households (under 55-years-old) are the most likely to be optimistic, with nearly one-third (31 percent) saying they believe the economy is improving.
The wealthiest households in the $25 million and over group also express the most optimisim (45 percent) that the economy will improve in the next six months to one 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.