While the latest economic news seems to indicate wages are increasing, unemployment is low, and inflation is virtually nonexistent. However, a survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank tells a different story.
The survey found nearly one-third of adults in the U.S., or about 76 million people, are struggling to keep their heads above water.
“It’s important to identify the reasons why so many families face continued financial struggles and to find ways to help them overcome them,” said Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard.
While the numbers sound dire, the results are actually an improvement. In 2013, the Fed survey revealed that 38 percent of Americans were just barely making it financially.
Americans continue to worry.
According to the examination, over 45 percent of adults said they did not have enough cash to cover an unexpected $400 expense and would be forced to sell something or borrow to cover it. Even high-income earners, those making more than $100,000 per year, said they may not be able to pay the bill right away.
Roughly 33 percent of those surveyed said their income fluctuates month-to-month, mostly because of an uneven work schedule. Over 40 percent indicated variations in expenses that made it difficult to budget every month.
Many Americans are either seeking more work or are already employed at two or more jobs. At least 35 percent want to work more hours, most particularly those in the lower-income bracket with less education.
Wages and savings up?
While wages have increased over the past 12 months, only 23 percent of the respondents saw more money coming in. This is down from 29 percent the year before.
Almost 50 percent of Americans spend less than they make and manage to put away a little in savings. However, most aren’t saving enough.
One-third of non-retirement age adults have not set aside any funds for their Golden Years. Of those, 27 percent are over the age of 60. Approximately 42 percent of the respondents expect to retire either at age 70 or not at all.
The survey results did highlight some positive economic news. Many of the people in the survey felt they were living more comfortably than in 2014. In addition, nearly 50 percent believed their home went up in value and over 40 percent predict it to continue to increase.