Workers with benefits from their employers are optimistic about the economy, but aren’t so sure about their own financial futures, a recent survey found. Mercer reported Monday that this is the first time the firm has recorded such a disparity in attitudes since launching the annual survey in 2003.

The percentage of workers who expect the economy to grow has increased from 56% in June 2008 to 77% in June 2010 when the survey was conducted. But, while over three-quarters of respondents expect growth, most of them don’t expect much. Seventy-one percent said they expect only 1% to 2% growth per year. Only 6% said they expect the economy to grow 3% or more per year.

More than one-third of respondents said they were concerned about the job security, though, the highest level since the survey’s inception, and a trend that has increased since July 2007.

“Traditionally, participant attitudes toward the overall economy and personal financial outlook trend closely together – either positively or negatively,” Suzanne Nolan, partner and director of marketing and communications for Mercer’s Outsourcing business, said in a press release.

“The unusual disconnect found in the 2010 Workplace Survey illustrates how severely participants were impacted by the global recession, and that a return to pre-crisis ‘optimism’ may take longer than many had hoped,” she added.

While keeping up with monthly bills is no longer the top worry (18%) for respondents, saving for retirement (20%) only just outpaces it as their top concern.

Almost two-thirds of respondents said they weren’t saving enough for retirement, and 64% said they should have started earlier. Respondents said they would like an average of 76% of the pre-retirement income. In May 2006, respondents aimed for between 80% and 82% of their pre-retirement income.

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