October Power Poll finds high anxiety about economy
Voters express concerns about high interest rates and looming recession,
Interest rates, energy costs and inflation are rising, and so are the anxiety levels of Memphis Power Poll members.
In the October Power Poll, more than three-quarters of respondents expressed concerns about the U.S. economy and its impact on their lives and organizations.
A whopping 85 percent said they were either very or somewhat concerned that the U.S. was sliding into a recession.
That despite other positive economic indicators that show employment, corporate profits, and the overall economy growing.
Regardless, 67 percent of respondents said the state of the economy will be an important factor in their voting decisions in next month's mid-term elections.
BlueCross Named the Top Employer in Tennessee
Company earns #1 ranking out of 80 employers across the state
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has been named the No. 1 employer in the state by Forbes in their 2022 list of America’s Best Employers by State, which ranked the top 80 employers across Tennessee. This ranking is up from 9th in 2021 and 13th in 2020.
“BlueCross is a mission-driven company that strives to make sure our employees feel valued,” said Roy Vaughn, senior vice president and chief human resources officer. “We invest in our people through competitive compensation and exceptional health and wellness benefits, which enables us to deliver peace of mind through better health to our more than 3 million members in Tennessee.”
The Best Employers by State survey considered a variety of criteria, including potential for growth, salary, and openness to telecommuting. Participants were also asked how likely they’d be to recommend their employer to others, and to nominate organizations outside of their own industry.
“Our employees told us that they value the ability to work from home and want to keep it, so we are going to allow them to do so,” Vaughn says. “As a result, nearly 90 percent of our workforce will continue to work remotely.
“We’ve worked to create a culture where every employee is respected and their voice is heard,” Vaughn continues. “Still, we’re always looking for ways to improve our employees’ experience because when they are at their best, we’re better able to meet the needs of our members and business partners.”
This Best Employer designation is the fourth Forbes ranking earned by BlueCross this year. The company was also named:
- A Best Employer for Women, ranking 12th out of 400 employers across the nation
- One of America’s Best Large Employers, ranking 27th out of 500 employers nationally and the highest- ranked Tennessee company
- One of the country’s Best Employers for Diversity for the fifth consecutive year
For information about the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts, visit www.bcbst.com/diversity.
Those anxieties are unlikely to impact either local congressional race. Both incumbents who represent Memphis and Shelby County -- Democrat Steve Cohen and Republican David Kustoff -- are expected to win re-election handily.
But local concerns about the economy mirror national ones and those concerns could become a major issue in the runup to the 2024 presidential election.
Power Poll members expressed the most concern about the economy overall. Only 14 percent said they were unconcerned that the U.S. was sliding into a recession.
The economy has gained 10 million jobs since the last election, unemployment has fallen to around 3 percent, and employment is now half a million higher than before the pandemic.
But eighty-one percent of Power Poll members said it is difficult for their organizations to fill open positions.
Rising interest rates also are worrisome. Eight percent of Power Poll members said they were concerned about the effect of rising rates on their organizations. Nineteen percent were not.
Inflation has reached its highest levels in 40 years, but Power Poll members expressed less concern about that. Twenty-two percent said inflation was having a major impact on their personal spending habits, but 78 percent said it was having little or no impact.
The economy likely will be a big issue in the Nov. 8 midterm elections. Seventy-five percent of Memphis Power Poll members said their concerns about the economy will have some impact their voting decisions.
Earlier this week, a New York Times/Siena College poll showed that more voters than ever -- 44 percent -- rank the state of the economy as their top concern in this year's elections.
All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 U.S. Senate seats are on the ballot.
About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.