As the holidays approach, the economic outlook is mixed. Unemployment is up, and leading surveys of consumer confidence seem contradictory. Typically, economists don't agree among themselves about when the U.S. will recover -- or how strong the rebound will be. At the same time, though, the stock market has jumped over the past two months -- a sign that investors think a recovery may be imminent.
That could be true -- unless consumers get cold feet and stop spending. So this five-question survey wants to know how you, our readers, view both your own financial situation and the economy.
Please remember that this isn't a scientific poll. It's simply a survey of those who choose to participate. Still, the results should provide some insight into where the economy may be headed.
How are you doing financially?
I'm in distress
I'm O.K., assuming no sudden reduction in income
I'm in good shape, with plenty of cushion for the near future
I'm not sure
How do you think the economy and the markets are doing now?
They've already hit bottom and are now improving
They probably have hit bottom, but it isn't certain yet
It's still anyone's guess whether we've seen the worst yet
They're more likely to worsen before they improve
How would you describe your job?
It isn't secure
How much do you think you'll end up spending during the holidays, compared with last year?
About the same
Six months from now, where do you think the economy will be?
On the way to recovery
Worse than it is now