More Americans said they felt good about their own financial situation last year, but they felt less positive about the economy.
The proportion who said they would be “fine or doing well financially” in 2021 hit a nine-year high and was the largest proportion since the Federal Reserve Board began conducting a national survey of Americans’ economic well-being. The Fed has been conducting the Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED) since 2013.
In a report published Monday, based on the survey, 78% of adults said they were at least fine in the fourth quarter of 2021, up 3 percentage points from 2020. The increase in the proportions of people who reported that they were fine was seen universally across all racial and ethnic groups.
The proportion of adults who said they could cover a $400 emergency expense with either cash, savings, or a credit card to pay when their next bill comes due also increased, reaching 68%, also 9- Highest year since the survey began in 2013. (Around 11% of respondents said there was “no way” they could afford a $400 emergency expense, similar to the 12% who said so in 2020.)
However, the survey was conducted last October and November, before Omicron variants spread nationwide and the inflation rate just started to rise. Since then, inflation has soared, hitting a 40-year record in March, when the consumer price index showed prices up 8.5% in 12 months.
At the same time, despite the increase in people feeling good about their individual finances, the proportion of people who rated the economy as “good or excellent” fell by two percentage points to 24% in 2021, or “about half of the Rate that in 2019,” the report’s authors noted.
Because there was only one question about how well people thought the economy was doing, officials said there wasn’t enough detail to explain the discrepancy between the two perceptions. It could be because people consider different factors when measuring their own financial lives compared to that of the nation as a whole, Fed officials told reporters at a press briefing about the report.
The survey also showed that the pandemic will continue to play a role in people’s career and employment choices in 2021. Around 15% of adults said they had changed jobs in the past 12 months, and most said their new job was better.
The survey also highlighted the importance of being able to work remotely for many employees. Responses suggested that for some, the ability to work from home was just as important as the pay. “Among those who work from home, the proportion of workers who would look for another job if their employer required them to work in person was similar to the proportion who would care about a wage freeze,” it says it in the report.
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/many-americans-felt-pretty-good-about-their-finances-last-year-but-were-less-confident-about-the-countrys-11653334327?rss=1&siteid=rss Many Americans felt pretty good about their finances last year – but were less confident about the country’s