Americans’ view of business sector hits 14-year low

Americans’ opinion of businesses plunged this year amid historic inflation, according to a Gallup poll released Friday.

The survey found that 36 percent of Americans have a positive view of businesses, down from 45 percent before the pandemic. That’s the lowest mark since the Great Recession in 2008.

The sour mood appears to stem from record food, energy and housing prices. Positive views of the grocery industry dropped 14 percentage points from last year, the biggest drop in the survey. The real estate industry dipped 9 points, the second-largest decline.

Just 22 percent of respondents reported having a positive view of the oil and gas industry, down from 28 percent last year. Twenty-nine percent reported having a positive view of electric and gas utilities, down from 36 percent last year.

Grocery prices rose a stunning 13.1 percent over the last 12 months ending in July, the largest annual increase in more than four decades, according to Labor Department data.

Housing affordability has fallen to its lowest level since the Great Recession, according to the National Association of Home Builders, with rents and home prices at record levels.

Gas prices reached an all-time high in June before falling in recent months, while energy bills are also soaring amid huge demand for natural gas.

The airline, pharmaceutical and automobile industries also saw significant declines in the percentage of respondents who view them positively, according to the Gallup poll.

While Republicans’ opinion of businesses declined just 1 percentage point to 31 percent year-over-year, Democrats’ view of businesses dipped 7 points to 39 percent.

That comes after Democrats attempted to tie record inflation to corporate greed, arguing that big companies are taking advantage of inflation to raise prices. While most economists dispute that talking point, stating that supply and demand drives pricing, Democrats point to massive profits reported by companies in the food and energy sectors.

Conducted Aug. 1 to Aug. 23, the Gallup poll surveyed 1,006 US adults and has a 4 percentage point margin of error.

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