Bad news on economy drops to five-year low

People in the U.S. say they’re now less likely to hear mostly bad news about the economy than at any point in the last five years, according to new data from the Pew Research Center.

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The overwhelming majority of adults still say they hear a mix of good and bad about the economy – roughly two-thirds both now and in February.

Roughly a quarter of people also say that they get generally negative reports about the economy, far higher than the number (10 percent) who say they usually hear upbeat news about the economy.

Still, the number of people hearing optimistic reports about the economy has doubled since February, up from 5 percent. The quarter of adults consuming pessimistic news about the economy is down from a third in February.

The Pew data comes as President Obama is openly touting improvements in the economy, and seeking to tie his legacy in the White House to his record in that area – an idea Republicans scoff at.

The U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July, and the White House was quick to note the six consecutive months of gains over 200,000. Economic growth also bounced back in this year’s second quarter, after contracting in the first three months of the year.

Pew also found fewer people hearing mostly bad news about the job market (down to a third), and more hearing essentially good news (up to a fifth). Roughly four in 10 say they hear mostly mixed news.

Consumers were most likely to report bad news about gas prices and the cost of food and other goods, while Republicans were the most likely to remain pessimistic about the U.S. job market.