Americans’ views on the business sector hit a 14-year low

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Americans’ opinion of businesses fell this year amid historic inflation, according to a Gallup poll released Friday.

The survey found that 36 percent of Americans have a positive view of companies, down from 45 percent before the pandemic. That’s the lowest mark since the Great Recession of 2008.

The sour mood appears to stem from record high prices for food, energy and housing. The positive view of the grocery industry fell 14 percentage points from last year, the biggest drop in the survey. The real estate industry fell 9 points, the second largest decline.

Only 22 percent of respondents reported having a positive view of the oil and gas industry, down from 28 percent last year. Twenty-nine percent reported having a positive view of electricity and gas utilities, down from 36 percent last year.

Grocery prices rose an astonishing 13.1 percent over the past 12 months ending in July, the largest annual increase in more than four decades, according to Labor Department data.

Housing affordability has fallen to its lowest level since the Great Recession, according to the National Association of Home Builders, with rents and home prices at record highs.

Gas prices hit a record high in June before falling in recent months, while energy bills are also skyrocketing amid huge demand for natural gas.

The aerospace, pharmaceutical and automotive industries also saw significant declines in the percentage of respondents who view them favorably, according to the Gallup poll.

While Republicans’ opinion of companies fell just 1 percentage point to 31 percent year-over-year, Democrats’ view of companies fell 7 points to 39 percent.

It comes after Democrats tried to tie record inflation to corporate greed, arguing that big businesses are exploiting inflation to raise prices. While most economists dispute this talking point, saying that supply and demand drive pricing, Democrats point to massive profits reported by companies in the food and energy sectors.

The Gallup poll, conducted from August 1 to August 23, surveyed 1,006 American adults and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

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