April 21, 2009

Econ 101

53%

More Americans know the unemployment rate than the level of the Dow.

A survey quiz of Americans on their knowledge of economic and political news finds more Americans know the current unemployment rate (53% correct) than the current level of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (40% correct). In both cases, when respondents answered incorrectly they were far more likely to be overly negative than overly positive. Among the 47% who did not know the unemployment rate was around 8% (the survey was conducted in March), 24% said the rate was closer to 12%, and another 18% thought it closer to 16%. Only 3% of Americans thought the unemployment rate was significantly lower than its actual level. Among those who did not know the Dow was around 8,000, roughly a third of Americans (34%) said it was either closer to 3,000 (20%) or 5,000 (14%), while just 4% estimated it at 11,000. Read More