Dec 22, 2021 - Economy

Savings dwindle among lower earners

Chart showing how many americans can cover a month's expenses with their savings.
Data: Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index; Chart: Axios Visuals

The roll-off of pandemic-era government support for families is showing up in the form of increased financial vulnerability among those at the lower end of the income spectrum.

Driving the news: About 32.3% of adults earning less than $50,000 per year said in December that their savings wouldn't cover one month of expenses — that's up from 28.4% who said so last month.

Why it matters: That stat is one aspect of an uptick in inequality between income groups in the U.S., as measured by the Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index.

How it works: The index measures whether economic inequality is rising or declining — as opposed to providing a snapshot of the distribution of income or wealth.

By the numbers: The share of adults who experienced a loss of income rose among those earning less than $50,000 per year, while it fell among those earning more than $100,000.

  • And consumer sentiment rose more for higher earners than it did for lower earners.

The bottom line: Heading into what looks to be a wave of Omicron variant infections, “people are not going to have that social safety net this time around,” says John Leer, Morning Consult chief economist.

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