Economic slump diminishing hopes for the future

Reflecting the prolonged economic slump, nearly one in three people answering a recent survey believe they are worse off than they were a year ago, the Prime Minister’s Office said Saturday.

The survey also showed that people’s hope for their future is also declining, and that more than half of them are unhappy with their current income or assets.

Of the respondents, 28.5 percent said their financial circumstances have become worse than 12 months earlier, up 6.4 percentage points from the previous poll in May 1997.

It was the sharpest rise in the percentage of such respondents since a 1980 survey, taken shortly after the second oil crisis hit the country.

Only 3.3 percent feel better off, down 1.4 points.

The proportion of people who said their financial circumstances will improve in the future dropped 3.8 points to 9.1 percent.

Asked if they are satisfied with their incomes, 52.8 percent said they are not, up 2.9 points, while 44 percent said they are, down 2.7 points.

Sixty percent of the respondents said they are dissatisfied with their own assets and savings, up 3.1 points, while 35.3 percent replied they are satisfied, down 2.7 points.

At the same time, about 90 percent of the respondents said believe they belong to the middle class in society — roughly unchanged from the 1997 survey.

In a multiple-choice questionnaire on what they expect from the government, better medical, welfare and pension systems topped the list at 65.1 percent, down 4.2 points, followed by beefing up measures to bolster the economy, at 60.7 percent, up 15.3 points.

The office sent questionnaires last December to 10,000 adults nationwide, with 70.2 percent responding.

It was the government’s 44th such survey since 1958.