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Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe economy has yet to hit bottom

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Nearly two-thirds of Americans (62 per cent) believe the economy has yet to hit bottom, a survey issued by Citi and conducted by Hart Research Associates shows.

This represents a three point decline from March, when 59 per cent said we have a long way to go, and a return to the level measured in September (63 per cent).

According to the survey, just one-third (33 per cent) believe the economy has hit bottom, even though Commerce Department data indicates the US economy resumed growing in 2009’s third quarter.

In addition, the data reveals that, as we pass the halfway point of 2010, Americans’ expectations for when the economy will stabilise for their households have slipped quite far into the future, with 62 per cent believing it will be at least two or three years, if not longer, and more than one quarter (28 per cent) believing it will be four or more years until the economy stabilises for their household.

At the same time, however, Americans’ views on current economic conditions, as well as their outlook on their own personal financial situations, are improving or holding steady.

The percentage of Americans who say their personal financial situation is better now than a year ago has improved slightly since March (17 per cent versus 15 per cent). Fifty-two per cent said their personal financial situations are about the same as they were a year ago.

"Clearly, the mood of Americans has been heavily influenced by the unemployment numbers here at home and the news of economic woes in Europe," says Jonathan Clements, director of financial education at Citi Personal Wealth Management. "And yet, if you dig deeper, consumers are actually feeling a bit better about their own finances and the local economic outlook. The big question is, could the gloomy news become a self-fulfilling prophesy, prompting consumers to restrain their spending, thus hurting the economic recovery?"

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