Michigan residents see a better year ahead

| Monday, February 14, 2011
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Consumer confidence--or maybe more accurately, hopefulness--among Michigan residents is at a six-year high, according to the latest quarterly survey by Michigan State University's Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.

A majority, 57 percent, said they believe they'll be better off financially this year than they were last year. That's the highest percentage in the survey since 2004. The survey of 1,000 adults was taken between October and December of 2010.

Gov. Rick Snyder, who has been in office only 45 days, can't take credit for an improving economy. But an optimistic electorate is almost always a good thing for an elected official. And Snyder will need all the goodwill he can muster as he drops his "atomic bomb" state budget on the Legislature later this week.

Only 18 percent of those surveyed in the waning months of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's administration thought she was doing a good job. And President Barack Obama's approval rating in Michigan fell to a record low 33 percent.

But while Granholm was widely blamed for not working economic miracles as the auto industry imploded, Michigan's economy has been slowly improving for the past year. The state's jobless rate fell 2.8 percentage points in 2010, the best performance of any state.

There is still a long way to go, though as 555,000 Michiganders are looking for work.

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