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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nearly 20% of Americans surveyed say they have zero savings in case of emergency, a recent survey by bankrate.com reports.

Why it matters: With the jobs outnumbering the jobless, a lowering unemployment rate and wages trickling upward, Americans theoretically should have more money to put away for a rainy day fund. If an economic downturn were to occur, the data shows only a small fraction of Americans would be able to comfortably maintain their lifestyle.

By the numbers: 29% of the U.S. say they have enough emergency savings to last them six months or more — an overwhelming majority of respondents, 62%, are "very or somewhat comfortable with their level of emergency savings."

  • Lower-income households are more likely to have no emergency funds, but 27% of lowest-income households have enough savings to last them at least three months.
  • Americans lost $19.4 trillion worth of wealth during the Great Recession, per the Treasury Department.
  • Even though 23% of people with zero savings is a seven-year low, people are saving the same amount as they were in 2010.

The big picture: Putting money away in a checking, savings or money market account in a strengthening economy is not that simple. The bankrate.com survey says only 22% of millennials have six months or more saved in an emergency fund. Many want to save in case of an economic downturn, but there are other priorities, Greg McBride, CFA for bankrate.com, tells Axios.

  • Debt is one of the biggest daily concerns for 68% of millennials, according to a poll by Kickstand with Hometap. Credit card and student debt for millennials is seven times more of a priority than baby boomers.
  • Millennials are also inadequately focused on retirement savings. Many believe Social Security will not be reliable.

Between the lines: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell raised interest rates in June and made the case in June for why it's in the U.S.'s best interest to raise rates a few more times in 2018.

  • "With unemployment low and expected to decline further, inflation close to our objective, and the risks to the outlook roughly balanced, the case for continued gradual increases in the federal funds rate is strong," Powell said in a two-day policy meeting.
  • But, there is concern the hikes may undercut the wage growth that Americans are barely starting to see.
  • "Higher interest rates are benefitting the people who have savings. People who have debt and no savings will not benefit," McBride said.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 8 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

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