The economy’s improving, but Americans’ economic anxiety persists
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By most macroeconomic indicators, the American economy has gotten stronger in the last few months. Job growth has averaged more than 250,000 a month since the fall, and in December the Federal Reserve deemed the economy strong enough to withstand its first interest rate hike since the recession.
But that hasn’t translated to lower levels of economic stress, according to the latest Marketplace Edison-Research Poll. The Marketplace Economic Anxiety Index — a trackable number derived from some of the poll’s questions — held steady at a score of 31 on a scale from zero to 100. The higher the number, the more stress someone is feeling.
Why didn’t the number budge? Because Americans continue to feel anxious about their economic situation and feel worried about meeting monthly expenses.
Among the more than 1,000 people surveyed, more than 60 percent reported feeling at least some anxiousness about their financial situations, while 30 percent said concern over their financial situation is causing them to lose sleep.
The level of anxiety is higher among hourly workers compared to those who earn a salary, while those who identified as African American and Hispanic reported higher economic anxiety levels than whites.
The Economic Anxiety Index was developed in fall 2015 as a way to gauge the economic mood over time and among different subgroups. The survey conducted by Edison Research had 1,012 respondents with a margin of error of 3 percent.
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