Trust in U.S. Businesses on the Rise


This time last year, collective faith in American businesses was down, both domestically and abroad. Then again, at this time last year Brett Favre seemed to be settling into retirement and Conan O’Brien was eagerly awaiting fulfilling his dream of taking over "The Tonight Show." Quite a bit can change in a year.

And it looks as though trust in American businesses is rebounding, according to PR Newswire:

Trust in business and government in the United States has improved significantly, according to the 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer. Among informed publics(1), trust in U.S. business to do what is right jumped 18 points since last year to 54 percent. Trust in U.S. companies is trending up in 19 of the 20 countries surveyed, with the largest increases – 20 percentage points or more – recorded in Europe, reversing years of low trust in U.S. companies across the EU and Russia. In the U.S., trust in government also rose 16 points since last year, to 46 percent, one of the largest increases in trust in government among the countries surveyed. These levels of trust are approaching those measured by Edelman before the "great recession," at the height of the economic expansion in 2006 and 2007. However, nearly two-thirds (59 percent) of U.S. respondents express concern that business and financial institutions will return to "business as usual" after the recession is over… 

For the first time, this year’s survey shows that trust and transparency are as important to corporate reputation as the quality of products and services. In the U.S. and in much of Western Europe, those two attributes rank higher than product quality – and far outrank financial returns, which sits at or near the bottom of 10 criteria in all regions. This is in stark contrast to 2006, when financial performance was in third place in a list of 10 attributes shaping trust in the United States. An increasing number of respondents also expressed trust in information from a company’s CEO – up 12 points, from 19 percent to 31 percent, which is still relatively low.

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