The Economy: Why it feels so bad

CNN's Ali Velshi and Erica Fink take a long, hard look at five key measures of the economy to see how things really are out there and if your economic fears and concerns are justified.

1 of 7
BACKNEXT
Measuring the economy might be a science, but what makes the economy tick isn't.

The U.S. economy, more so than other worldwide economies, is largely based on how investors and, ultimately, consumers, feel. Typically, we measure economic strength or weakness using the GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, which is historically thought of as the broadest measure of economic activity.

But, while GDP may be a good measure of the whole economy (and it may not be, but that's another story), we wanted to take the temperature of the things that matter to you, and how you feel. How you feel affects how you spend, and that's what really matters in this economy.

We've taken a long, hard look at five measures of the economy that reflect how things really are out there, to see if your fears and concerns are justified. The measures we chose are those which we "touch" on a daily basis.

We charted them on a scale of 0-to-10: 0 being the worst that each of them have been since 1980; 10 being the best.

We decided to make 1980 our starting point because experts agree that the economy before then was so different from what it is now that it would be like comparing apples and oranges.

Here's what we found about how the economy is affecting you, via jobs, personal income, personal savings, industrial production and home prices.


NEXT: Jobs
Last updated October 31 2008: 9:42 AM ET
More Galleries
2015 Mustang's asphalt-peeling power goes modern The new Ford Mustang has been upgraded and updated to compete globally - but never fear, it's still a monster. More
15 top executives with $1 salaries Some CEOs and founders agree to salaries of just $1 a year. But once goodies like bonuses and stock options are added in, some of those executives end up taking home many millions of dollars a year. More
Mercedes SL65 AMG: 621 horses of topless power Turn heads as you blow by traffic in this roadster convertible from Mercedes. More

Special Offer
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.