Americans’ Trust In Economic Authorities Plummets, Poll Finds

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Jason Cohen Contributor
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Americans lack faith in their country’s main economic authorities, according to a Gallup poll published Tuesday.

The poll asked participants to state their confidence level that officials will “do or recommend the right thing for the economy.” It found that 34% to 38% of American adults have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of confidence in President Joe Biden, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and congressional leaders.

Almost 50% of U.S. adults report they have nearly zero confidence in Biden. Confidence in all the officials is worse than last year, including a five percentage point decline for Biden and a seven percentage point drop for Powell.

The poll results are from Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance survey, conducted in April. It is the first time the president, Federal Reserve chairman, and congressional leaders from both parties garnered confidence ratings beneath 40% in the same year since the poll began in 2001.

While Gallup did not include Yellen in the 2022 survey, her 2023 rating has plunged compared to 2021 when she had 54% confidence and Biden 57%.

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 21: U.S. Secretary Janet Yellen speaks as Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell and other participants listen during an open session of a Financial Stability Oversight Council meeting at the Department of the Treasury on April 21, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Powell’s 36% rating is the lowest he has received during his six-year reign as Fed chairman and tied for the lowest rating of any previous Fed chair, but close to Yellen’s 37% in 2014. (RELATED: Labor Market Stays Hot Despite Fed’s Best Efforts) 

The American economy slowed to a 1.1% annual growth rate in the first quarter of 2023, according to GDP statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in April.

The Federal Reserve hiked its benchmark federal funds rate by a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday, the 10th consecutive increase since March 2022. Interest rates are now within a range of 5% and 5.25%, the highest level since 2007, before the 2008 financial crisis, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

There is broad agreement in the financial sector that the economy will continue confronting challenges this year as more than a dozen big banks expect poor growth or a recession, according to Politico.

First Republic Bank collapsed on May 1, marking the second-largest bank failure in American history. It surpassed Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank’s failures in March, previously the second and third largest collapses.

The survey was conducted through telephone interviews between April 3 and 25 and consisted of a random sample of 1,013 Americans over the age of 18 and living in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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