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51 percent

October 4, 2011

For those that believe we've turned the corner economically, here's some grim news: 51 percent of New Jerseyans say they are financially worse off than they were last year at this time.

That's the opinion of New Jersey adults surveyed by Fairleigh Dickinson University's Silberman College of Business. The sentiment is shared largely by both employed and unemployed and low-income and high-income. About a quarter of those responding say they are about the same as last year, and about 23 percent say they are better off than a year ago.

One reason for consumers' negative outlook is housing prices: homeowners are more negative on the economy than renters (53 percent to 42 percent.) About half (49 percent) say they expect housing prices to drop in the next year. That is in direct opposition to what they said six months ago, when the same percentage said they thought prices would go up and only 30 percent thought they would decline. What's more, one in five homeowners (19 percent) say their mortgage is underwater -- meaning it is worth more than their house.

Worries about potential inflation (62 percent are very concerned) and knowledge of someone in the family or close friends being out of work (63 percent) are adding to economic anxiety.

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