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State of the U.S. Economy - 8/3/16

There are some positive things that can be said about the U.S. economy.  Officially, unemployment is below five percent.  Wage growth has begun to accelerate.  Home prices are rising more forcefully and fewer Americans are underwater on their mortgages.  But many continue to struggle. 

According to the Federal Reserve Bank’s latest survey of American economic well-being, thirty one percent of American adults, or seventy six million people, say they are struggling to get buy or are just barely making it.  In some sense, even that’s good news. 

Two years ago, the Federal Reserve found that thirty eight percent of Americans were in weak financial shape, so the proportion of Americans indicating significant financial stress has fallen by seven percentage points.  Still, as reported by CNNMoney, about forty six percent of adults say that they couldn’t cover an unexpected four hundred dollar expense or would have to borrow or sell something to do so. 

Roughly a third of adults indicate that their income varies from month-to-month, primarily because they maintain an irregular work schedule.  Surprisingly, though wage growth has picked up recently, only twenty three percent of those surveyed felt their income would be higher over the coming year.   

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.