Average Americans have yet to see improvements in their financial health as government agencies continue to report recovery from the Great Recession, according to a recent poll by Consumer Reports.
"A majority of consumers have yet to feel or see any improvement in their own financial situation," said Ed Farrell, director of market research at the Consumer Reports National Research Center. "Unless the employment market improves and many of these factors change, it could be some time before we see a true return to optimism."
Particularly telling in the index's results is the trouble tracker index, which "gauges the amount and frequency of financial difficulties consumers face." In western states, the index pointed out a 6.1 point gain in the category, indicating increased financial difficulties in the region despite positive economic reports from federal government.
For households last month earning less than $50,000 on a national level, 23.3 percent reported inability to afford medical bills or medications, 13.5 percent missed payment on a major bill excluding mortgages and 9.3 percent reported lost or reduced healthcare coverage.
And on the jobs front last month, 7.1 percent of Americans reported losing a job while only 5.8 percent reported starting a new one. These numbers may indicate a gap between government reports and where the recovery actually stands.
"It's an incredibly slow recovery," said Jason Shogren, department chair at the University of Wyoming college of economics and finance. "The government is forecasting with a little longer time horizon than people that, you know, need to put gas in their car and food on the table. In some perspectives, the government can be presenting their information in a more favorable light, and the rest of us have to deal with day to day."
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