The new monthly jobs report just came out, and it shows fewer jobs created than expected: 142,000. It's also the first time in seven months that job creation has dropped below 200,000.

In other words, it's not great. But it is one middling month in a series of pretty good ones, and this is a preliminary estimate that could/will change.

But even as the economy has clearly been improving, that gradual recovery has been marked by a striking lack of one ingredient: optimism.

A new poll Thursday from the Pew Research Center shows optimism about the economy is actually lower than at any point since the recession hit in late 2008. Just 22 percent of Americans think things will be better a year from now -- the lowest that measure has been since 2008.

That's the same percentage as those that say things will get worse, so it's not like more people think we're headed for a double-dip recession. But even as there have been six straight months of job creation (prior to Friday), the American people don't yet see a long-term trend forming.

A majority -- 54 percent -- say they expect things to be about the same as today in September 2015.


And Pew isn't the only pollster to demonstrate this trend.

Monthly Gallup polling has shown the same phenomenon. Even as the last six months showed steady 200,000-plus job-creation numbers, Gallup's economic outlook numbers over that same span have actually dropped from -13 to -19. Both numbers are improvements from late 2013, but that improvement happened before the jobs gains of the last few months, and the outlook hasn't improved since the first strong jobs report came out in early March.


The reason? Despite the White House's emphasis on the progress made, Americans still see the recovery as rather weak.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll from April showed 18 percent of Americans saw the economic recovery being "strong," versus 39 percent who perceived a recovery but thought it was a "weak" one.

Today, the overall percentage who see the recovery happening is larger -- 75 percent, according to Pew -- but just 8 percent of Americans think the recovery has begun and that it's "strong," while 67 percent say it's "recovering, but not so strongly."


The questions asked and the pollsters are not the same, so the comparison between the two isn't perfect. But they are similar enough to demonstrate the still-quite-skeptical eyes with which Americans view today's economic recovery.

Combine that with the drop in August, and we shouldn't expect much real change in views of the economy -- either today, or any time before Election Day on Nov. 4.

This post has been updated. It was initially published at 6:30 a.m.