The US economy is getting better, or at least the data suggest that. More Americans disagree. Unemployment is down. Wages are up. Interest rates and inflation are low. And yet, the last twelve months have seen a dramatic increase in insecurity. Marketplace conducted a survey that shows:
- 28% fear not being able to pay their mortgages, up from 10%
- 48% think they have jobs, not advancing careers
- 30% think they may lose their job, up from 10%
- 64% feel financially insecure, while 34% feel secure
An overall anxiety index has risen from 20% to 36%.
The shift may be caused by the election which increases visibility of the issues; but the shift may also be caused by more fundamental personal finances. In any case, worried people spend less, invest less, and caution slows the economy – possibly making this a self-fulfilling prophecy. If anxieties are relieved after election day, then the issue is less likely to be fundamental; but there may be a wisdom in the crowd that understands something deeper.
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