The Gallup company released its annual survey of which of 24 business sectors Americans view the most positively and least positively. For the fourth year in a row, the computer industry is the business sector that Americans view most positively.
Since 2001, Gallup has been asking Americans the following question:
"For each of the following business sectors in the United States, please say whether your overall view of it is very positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative or very negative."
In 2011, Gallup reports that 72 percent of Americans view the computer business sector positively, 16 percent are neutral about it and 10 percent view it negatively (the remainder had no opinion). The 72-percent rating is the highest of any business sector since Gallup began conducting its survey, the company reports.
The next highest positively rated industry is the restaurant business sector, with 61 percent positive marks, 25 percent neutral, and 12 percent negative. The Internet business sector comes in third, with 56 percent positive marks, 25 percent neutral and 16 percent negative.
In comparison to the business sectors, the federal government comes in last place, even lower than the oil and gas business sector. The government received 17 percent positive marks, 20 percent neutral and 63 percent negative.
You can view the most recent Gallup survey results here (along with a discussion of its survey methodology), which also has the net change in positive ratings since 2001. You can also see year-by-year changes for each business sector and the federal government here.
The Internet business sector has gained the most in being viewed positively since 2001, followed by the electric and utility business sector, the computer business sector, and the movie business sector. Somewhat disturbingly, these four business sectors are the only ones that Americans rate move positively over the past decade. The legal and telephone business sectors haven't changed (viewed positively by 29 percent and 39 percent of Americans respectively in 2001 and in 2011), while the remaining 18 business sectors and the federal government have seen decreases in their positive ratings.
Not surprisingly given the financial meltdown, the banking and real estate business sectors have experienced the largest drops in positive scores over the past decade, but neither were as bad as the federal government.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.