American Earnings Fall Behind Costs as 2023 Brings Inflation, Recession Fears: Survey

Four in ten Americans said they would not have $1,000 available to cover an emergency expense, like a unexpected car repair or medical debt.

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Americans are pessimistic about what the economy will bring in 2023, with large numbers fearing inflation and a looming recession will undermine their financial security and ability to save.

That’s the topline message of Primerica’s U.S. Middle Income Financial Security Monitor’s Jan. 2022 report.

The information about American financial thinking comes from an online poll measures economic attitudes of Americans with incomes between $30,000 and $100,000.

Just 53 percent of American adults say their personal finances are in “good” or “excellent” condition, while 72 percent said the income is falling behind the rising cost of living.

Four in ten Americans said they would not have $1,000 available to cover an emergency expense, like a unexpected car repair or medical debt. Half of respondents said they’d already tapped into their emergency fund within the last year.

The one bright spot in the survey was a tight labor market created by low unemployment, though there is some evidence in federal data that the low unemployment rate is partly because many have stopped looking for work.

Nearly 40 percent of respondents said they planned to pick up additional work, while one in five workers said they planned to seek a better job in 2023.

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