About one-in-five Americans (22%) think the economy will be better off a year from now, while 18% say it will be worse off, and most Americans (56%) say it will be about the same as now. The public’s economic expectations for the year ahead have improved somewhat since September, when only 16% said the economy would improve. In addition, the public has a more upbeat view of the availability of jobs in their local communities. Currently, 40% say there are plenty of jobs available locally, while 49% say jobs are difficult to find. Last January, just a third of Americans had an upbeat opinion of their local employment situation. Perceptions of the local job situation have improved particularly in the West, among political independents, and middle-income Americans. Roughly half (49%) of those with annual household incomes of between $30,000 and $75,000 now say there are plenty of jobs available locally. In January, only about a third in those income categories said plenty of jobs were available locally (35%). Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.