Americans’ Personal Finances Worst Since the Great Recession

(The Center Square) Half of Americans report their personal finances are “worse off” than they were a year ago, according to a new survey.

The poll found only 35% of Americans say they are better off than a year ago. The 50% who are worse off is the highest percentage since Gallup began asking the question in 1976, with the exception of the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

These figures are worse than even those during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In both 2021 and 2022, Americans were evenly divided between saying they were better off versus worse off, including a 41% to 41% split in last year’s survey,” Gallup said.

Other polling shows that many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and building up more credit card debt.

PYMNTS released polling data earlier this month that showed that 64% of U.S. consumers say they are living paycheck to paycheck.

TransUnion Reports that American credit card users’ balances increased on average by about 13% from 2021 to 2022.

“Consumers are being pressured on multiple fronts, first by this environment of high inflation, and secondarily by the higher interest rates that the Federal Reserve is implementing to tamp it down,” said Michele Raneri, vice president of U.S. research and consulting at TransUnion.

“Delinquencies remain in line with historical levels for most credit products. However, levels have been rising over the past year, particularly among subprime consumer segments, and should be monitored in the coming months to look for similar increases in other credit risk tiers.”

Rasmussen Reports released a poll Wednesday showing that 85% of Americans report paying more for groceries now than they did a year ago, and most Americans expect those prices to keep rising.

The survey comes after President Joe Biden touted economic gains since he took office. Biden pointed to the low unemployment rate and a slowdown in inflation.

“Here at home, inflation is coming down,” Biden said. “Here at home, gas prices are down $1.50 from their peak. Food inflation is coming down, not fast enough but coming down.”

Even with a slowdown in the increases, prices are still much higher than when Biden took office, with food prices leading the way.

Republicans hammered those points in their criticism of Biden after his speech, pointing to the higher prices and financial difficulties facing Americans.

“If Joe Biden’s economy’s so good, why do over 70% of Americans think our country is on the wrong track?” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said.