Everyone Feels Like They’re Being Left Out of the Global Pandemic Recovery

A new global survey shows a gap in perceptions between overall economic activity and individuals’ personal finances.

Commuters waits at Secaucus junction station at New Jersy in early morning, on Monday ,May 10, 2021.
By Charlie Wells
October 18, 2021 | 12:41 PM

Bloomberg — Stock markets are surging. More job openings are being posted. The global economy is generally on the up. But people around the world aren’t feeling that way themselves.

A survey found that 77% of people in 27 countries say their own finances are the same or getting worse, even as 70% of them say their country’s economy is weak but better now than in 2020.

In the U.S., 32% of respondents said their situations were improving and 68% said they were the same or getting worse, according to the survey of nearly 17,000 people by the Milken Institute and the Harris Poll.

“Broader economic metrics have recovered since the depths of the pandemic, as corporate earnings, stock prices, and the unemployment rate have bounced back,” said John Gerzema, chief executive officer of the Harris Poll. “At the same time, pressures like inflation seem to be contributing to a perception that while the overall economy is improving, regular people are being left behind.”


This negative outlook isn’t limited to finances. More than half of respondents said they feared the worst of the pandemic was yet to come: 83% fear new Covid-19 variants, 80% fear recessions and 64% fear lost jobs.

Dim Outlook on Personal Financesdfd

“Ultimately, recovery is in the eye of the beholder with far greater numbers of people feeling left out and falling behind,” according to the report, called “The Listening Project.” “Until leaders and institutions can reach and support people where they are, negative perceptions of an equitable recovery will endure.”

Citizens have been losing confidence in their governments’ handling of the pandemic, the report said. In 2020, 74% supported their governments’ handling of the pandemic. That figure has dropped to 61%.


More than half of respondents said they trust companies more than their governments to find solutions to Covid. Nearly two thirds said that companies have been more reliable than governments in keeping their countries running during the pandemic.

Leaders trying to regain trust in the post-pandemic world might want to think about one word: honesty. That was the most common trait respondents selected as the most important characteristic of a post-pandemic leader.

Pollsters surveyed respondents from July 30 to Aug. 11 and from Aug. 25 to Sept. 9.