(The Center Square) - As 2023 begins, Californians aren’t feeling very optimistic about their economic future according to a Public Policy Institute of California survey released Wednesday.
For the past 20 years the institute has surveyed the sentiments of Californians on the economy, asking participants from all walks of life about what they thought of the coming year and whether economic times would be good or bad. The respondents appear to be good at predicting the direction of the economy having correctly anticipated the last two downturns.
So what are the majority of Californians saying about the next 12 months? Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed last November expect a bad economic road ahead.
On paper, the state’s economy looks strong. The job market is outpacing the national average, wages are up and the unemployment rate has recovered and is now lower than pre-pandemic numbers, but high prices put the pressure on low income earners, and increasing inequality robs many Californians of their sense of security, the survey revealed.
Inflation remains the number one concern for Californians. Meeting basic needs is becoming more difficult for low-income residents. Forty-four percent of Californians say paying for a $1,000 emergency expense would be difficult.
The survey reported “Among lower-income Californians, residents in Orange/San Diego (81%), the Central Valley (79%), and the Inland Empire (79%) are the most likely to say this expense would be at least somewhat difficult to cover (75% Los Angeles, 70% San Francisco Bay Area).”
Meanwhile, top incomes have grown “Driven by increased global trade, technological advancements that have favored more-educated workers and systemic barriers”
Federal Reserve strategies have slowed inflation for the past six months, but prices are still high. Prolonged intervention by the Feds increases the risk of a recession and perhaps this is what is being felt.