Americans were ‘doing okay’ or ‘living comfortably’ last fall before inflation hit, stocks plunged

Americans are nervously grappling with soaring gasoline prices and inflation, a plunging stock market and sharply rising interest rates.

But they were doing pretty well last fall.

Seventy-eight percent of households said they were “doing okay” financially or “living comfortably,” according to the Federal Reserve’s "Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2021” report. That’s up from 75% the prior three years and the highest share in the history of the survey, which the Fed has conducted since 2013.

The survey was done last October and November, before COVID-19’s omicron triggered a spike in cases and Russia launched a war on Ukraine, intensifying supply-chain bottlenecks and pushing already climbing gasoline prices and inflation higher.

Sixty-eight percent of adults said they could cover an emergency expense using just cash or its equivalent, up from 64% in 2020 and the largest share on record. The portion has steadily risen from 50% in 2013.

Paul Davidson | USA Today

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