The percentage of U.S. adults who say the economy is heading in the wrong direction has increased to 86%, up from 64% in November 2006.

Researchers at a unit of MetLife Inc., New York, have published those figures in a summary of results from a Web-based survey of 800 U.S. residents ages 19 and older.

The researchers broke out responses from members of the Silent Generation, who were born between 1933 and 1945; the Baby Boom Generation, who were born between 1946 and 1964; Generation X, who were born between 1965 and 1975; and the older members of Generation Y, who were born between 1977 and 1994.

Participants in all age groups were about equally likely to say the economy is heading in the wrong direction, but members of the Silent Generation were far more likely to say they themselves have “achieved the American Dream.”

The percentage of Silent Generation members who say they have achieved the American Dream rose to 64%, from 63%.

The percentage rose to 40%, from 32%, for boomers; to 33%, from 27%, for GenXers; and to 18%, from 17%, for adult members of Generation Y.

The researchers discovered a significant shift in answers to a question asking participants who believe the economy is heading in the wrong direction to list 3 major factors for the decline.

Energy costs already were rising in 2006, but survey participants then listed energy costs as the second most important reason for the economy heading in the wrong direction and health care costs the most important reason.

Since then, the percentage of participants citing energy costs as a source of trouble has increased to 58%, from 41%.

The cost of health care now ranks second, with the percentage of participants citing it falling to 36%, from 42%.