Treasury

The vibecession continues

More Americans feel all right about their finances than they do about the US economy.
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· 3 min read

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Another marker of the vibecession: More Americans are feeling optimistic about their own finances than about the US economy, according to a new American Perspectives survey from KPMG of 1,100 adults nationwide, released on May 30.

It’s not that tons of Americans are super jazzed about their pocketbooks. A respectable but not overwhelming 54% said they were “optimistic about their personal financial situation” over the coming year. But nearly two in three (65%) also said they plan to “do more discount shopping.”

In other words, the microeconomic-macroeconomic perceptions gap is coming from the minority of those who are optimistic about the US economy’s potential to grow in the next year. That share of respondents was 37%. Compare that to the 38% who were pessimistic.

Why so negative? “[P]eople’s overall optimism is connected to their confidence in navigating the forces shaping our economy, including generative AI, the energy transition, digitalization, and more,” KPMG’s Matt Kramer said in a press release on the survey. So they notice that global events and new technologies are disrupting the economy in the short term, the survey report says, while it’s also undergoing “longer-term structural changes…including the energy transition, tight labor markets, new regulation, and sticky inflation.”

View from the top. The gloom stands in even greater contrast to the rosy views of CEOs KPMG surveyed for a report it published in April. Asked the same question about the US economy’s “growth prospects” over the next year, 87% said they were optimistic. More than three-quarters expressed optimism about their own companies and the global economy in the coming year. And while CEOs are surely watching for signs that the Fed will cut rates, average Janes can’t be bothered: “75% of people do not believe that interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve would improve their personal financial situation,” according to the survey.

They contain multitudes. The American Perspectives Surveys gave respondents a grab bag of topics on which to sound off, including renewable energy, anti-obesity drugs, and of course AI. Respondents did not disappoint. For instance, renewable energy scored highest for what respondents were comfortable with (69%, compared to 41% for fossil fuels) and for what they thought would lower utility costs (52% vs. 20%). But given the choice between a gas-powered car and an identically performing electric vehicle, just 21% said they’d take the EV.

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.