How are you feeling about your financial situation? Half of Americans say they are doing worse financially now than a year ago. That’s the highest share that said that since 2009, according to the latest annual poll from Gallup. At the same time, 35% said they were better off compared to a year ago.
“Since Gallup first asked this question in 1976, it has been rare for half or more of Americans to say they are worse off. The only other times this occurred was during the Great Recession era in 2008 and 2009,” the Gallup report said. High inflation, rising interest rates, and a bearish stock market in 2022 all took a toll on Americans’ finances, and their feelings of economic security. The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits in early February rose by 13,000 to 196,000, the government said Thursday, but that number is still hovering near pandemic-era lows.
“Lower-income Americans and Republicans were more likely to say their finances had deteriorated over the past year.”
Pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have also pushed up the prices of energy and food. The annual consumer price index was 6.6% in December, cooling from a 40-year-high of 9% in June 2022. Across all income levels, lower-income Americans are more likely to say their finances have deteriorated. Households earning $40,000 a year and lower — felt it more. Some 61% of lower-income Americans said their financial situation has deteriorated in the past year, compared to 26% saying it has improved, and 11% saying it stayed the same. More Republicans than Democrats said their finances were worse: 61% of Republicans and 37% of Democrats said they were worse off. This, political commentators say, likely reflects their support or happiness with the opposition party occupying the White House.Pandemic-era government benefits are coming to an end Many people are facing a double whammy: Many households are losing a raft of pandemic-era government benefits, even as prices continue to rise. Enhanced child tax credits, which helped many parents during the worst days of the pandemic, …