76 million Americans are struggling financially or just getting by

Wages are finally rising. Unemployment is the lowest it's been since 2007. Inflation remains muted.

But 31% of American adults, or 76 million people, say they are struggling to get by or just barely making it, according to the Federal Reserve Bank's latest survey on Americans' economic well-being, which looked at 2015.

 

And that's actually good news. Two years earlier, the Fed found that 38% of Americans were in weak financial shape.

Seven years after the end of the Great Recession, millions of Americans have yet to find firm financial footing. That's one reason why the economy remains a top concern in the 2016 presidential election.

"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.

Related: Americans' confidence in economy at 2016 low

The Fed survey highlights many of Americans' continuing economic worries. Some 46% of adults say they can't cover an unexpected $400 expense or would have borrow or sell something to do so.

fed data emergency expenses

While lower income Americans said they'd have the toughest time handling this emergency charge, some 38% of middle class Americans reported they'd have trouble too. Even 19% of those raking in over $100,000 a year said they couldn't pay the bill promptly.

About one-third of Americans also say that their income varies month-to-month, mainly because they have an irregular work schedule. Some 45% say their expenses shift each month. Some 42% of those with these volatile income streams or expenses say they struggled to pay the bills at least once in the past year.

Many Americans want to work more or are already holding down multiple jobs. Some 35% of those who are not self-employed said they'd prefer to work more hours (at their current wage). This was particularly true of lower-income respondents, non-Hispanic blacks, younger folks, Hispanics and and those with less education.

fed data fewer raises

And though wage growth began picking up last year, only 23% of those surveyed felt their income would be higher in the coming year. That's down from 29% last year.

Related: How to tell whether you can afford to retire early

When it comes to savings, the picture is mixed.

Nearly half of Americans spend less than their incomes. That savings rate is 9 percentage points higher than it was two years ago.

But nearly one-third of non-retired adults have not socked away anything for their Golden Years nor do they have a pension. This includes 27% of those age 60 and older.

fed date working retirement

This is probably why many Americans plan to continue working when they hit retirement age. Some 42% expect to either retire at age 70 or older or to never retire.

Related: These workers are getting raises

Also, 38% expect to work in retirement to give them a source of funds, and nearly 22% think their spouse or partner will work.

The report had a few bright spots, including more adults saying they were living comfortably or doing okay and the greater rate of savings. Also, just over half of Americans felt that their home value increased over the past year and 43% expect it to increase in the coming year.

CNNMoney (New York)First published June 10, 2016: 6:45 AM ET

 

Global unemployment to hit 200 million as wages stagnate

by Ivana Kottasova   @ivanakottasova January 13, 2017: 6:24 AM ET

The number of people out of work around the world will hit 200 million in 2017, a new record high. And those with jobs shouldn't bank on a raise.

Those are the findings of research by the International Labor Organization, an agency that brings together governments, employers and worker representatives from 187 countries.

In a report this week, the ILO said global unemployment is expected to rise by 3.4 million this year, and by 2.7 million in 2018, because the workforce is growing at a faster pace than jobs are being created.

"Economic growth continues to disappoint," said Guy Ryder, ILO director general. "This paints a worrisome picture for the global economy and its ability to generate enough jobs, let alone quality jobs." 

plantation workers.

Over 776 million still live in working poverty.

The ILO has bad news for people in work, too.

In a separate report, the agency said global wage growth, once inflation is taken into account, fell to its slowest pace in four years in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available.

Rising pay in some developed economies, including the United States and Germany, was not enough to make up for declines elsewhere.

The number of people working but still experiencing poverty remains high: half of workers in southern Asia and nearly two-thirds of workers in sub-Saharan Africa live in extreme or moderate poverty, the ILO said.

Related: Finland is giving 2,000 citizens a guaranteed income

According to the ILO, developing economies -- particularly in Latin America -- will see the biggest increases in unemployment in 2017. And while unemployment will likely fall in Europe, the U.S. and Canada, the decline will be slow and uneven.

The ILO also warned that long term unemployment is becoming a big problem in Europe and North America. Nearly half of unemployed people in Europe, and a quarter in the U.S., have been looking for work for more than six months. 


 

Millennials are falling behind their boomer parents

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SOUTH MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (AP) — Baby Boomers: your millennial children are worse off than you.

With a median household income of $40,581, millennials earn 20 percent less than boomers did at the same stage of life, despite being better educated, according to a new analysis of Federal Reserve data by the advocacy group Young Invincibles.

The analysis being released Friday gives concrete details about a troubling generational divide that helps to explain much of the anxiety that defined the 2016 election. Millennials have half the net worth of boomers. Their home ownership rate is lower, while their student debt is drastically higher.

The generational gap is a central dilemma for the incoming presidency of Donald Trump, who essentially pledged a return to the prosperity of post-World War II America. The analysis also hints at the issues of culture and identity that divided many voters, showing that white millennials – who still earn much more than their blacks and Latino peers – have seen their incomes plummet the most relative to boomers.

Andrea Ledesma, 28, says her parents owned a house and were raising kids by her age.

Not so for her. Ledesma graduated from college four years ago. After moving through a series of jobs, she now earns $18,000 making pizza at Classic Slice in Milwaukee, shares a two-bedroom apartment with her boyfriend and has $33,000 in student debt.

“That’s not at all how life is now, that’s not something that people strive for and it’s not something that is even attainable, and I thought it would be at this point,” Ledesma said.

Her mother Cheryl Romanowski, 55, was making about $10,000 a year at her age working at a bank without a college education. In today’s dollars, that income would be equal to roughly $19,500.

Romanowski said she envies the choices that her daughter has in life, but she acknowledged that her daughter has it harder than her.

“I think the opportunities have just been fading away,” she said.

The analysis of the Fed data shows the extent of the decline. It compared 25 to 34 year-olds in 2013, the most recent year available, to the same age group in 1989 after adjusting for inflation.

Education does help boost incomes. But the median college-educated millennial with student debt is only earning slightly more than a baby boomer without a degree did in 1989.

The home ownership rate for this age group dipped to 43 percent from 46 percent in 1989, although the rate has improved for millennials with a college degree relative to boomers.

The median net worth of millennials is $10,090, 56 percent less than it was for boomers.

Whites still earn dramatically more than Blacks and Latinos, reflecting the legacy of discrimination for jobs, education and housing.

Yet compared to white baby boomers, some white millennials appear stuck in a pattern of downward mobility. This group has seen their median income tumble more than 21 percent to $47,688.

Median income for black millennials has fallen just 1.4 percent to $27,892. Latino millennials earn nearly 29 percent more than their boomer predecessors to $30,436.

The analysis fits into a broader pattern of diminished opportunity. Research last year by economists led by Stanford University’s Raj Chetty found that people born in 1950 had a 79 percent chance of making more money than their parents. That figure steadily slipped over the past several decades, such that those born in 1980 had just a 50 percent chance of out-earning their parents.

This decline has occurred even though younger Americans are increasingly college-educated. The proportion of 25 to 29 year-olds with a college degree has risen to 35.6 percent in 2015 from 23.2 percent in 1990, a report this month by the Brookings Institution noted.

The declining fortunes of millennials could impact boomers who are retired or on the cusp of retirement. Payroll taxes from millennials helps to finance the Social Security and Medicare benefits that many boomers receive – programs that Trump has said won’t be subject to spending cuts. And those same boomers will need younger generations to buy their homes and invest in the financial markets to protect their own savings.

“The challenges that young adults face today could forecast the challenges that we see down the road,” said Tom Allison, deputy policy and research director at Young Invincibles.

http://wpri.com/2017/01/16/millennials-are-falling-behind-their-boomer-parents/