Jan 29, 2019

Americans still fall behind in a booming economy

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Ahead of this week's now-delayed report on U.S. GDP, think tank Prosperity Now produced an economic report it says shows how Americans are reacting to the economy.

The big picture: The situation for American families is improving, with increased levels of savings, higher wages and fewer people in dire financial straits. However, the organization argues the data shows many Americans are still hurting in a time of strong economic growth.

  • The rate of Americans skipping necessary doctor visits because they couldn't afford them increased to 13.5%, and the rate of people without health insurance rose to 10.2%.
  • Further, 13% of households in the U.S. fell behind on bills and 40% lack a basic level of savings.
"Income poverty rates haven’t fallen below where they were in 2008 and 2007. The cost of living is greatly outpacing growth in wages, and the numbers show that too many of the jobs people do have are not setting them up to afford their healthcare, put money away, or securely meet their housing costs.The numbers show people of color feel it the most and are vulnerable to the kinds of small disruptions that — as the shutdown demonstrated — can escalate very quickly if you are living paycheck to paycheck."
— Kasey Wiedrich, director of applied research at Prosperity Now

By the numbers:

  • Wages and income: Nearly 25% of black households, 16.9% of Hispanic households, 10.4% of white and 6.5% of Asian households fell behind on bills.
  • Savings: 40% of American households don’t have enough savings to make ends meet at the poverty level for three months if their income was interrupted.
  • Wealth: Almost 30% of Black households, 21.9% of Hispanic households, and 13.4% of White households have no wealth or owe more than they own.
  • Health care: The rate of people without health insurance did not decrease for the first time since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Go deeper: The economy is booming, but Americans still aren't moving

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GM to exit Australia, New Zealand and Thailand

GM's Holden brand is popular among racing fans down under, and it's been a regular fixture at events like the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar Race in Australia. Photo: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

General Motors is retiring its celebrated Holden brand from sales in Australia and New Zealand after 160 years and winding down operations by 2021, the company confirmed in a statement Monday.

The big picture: GM also intends to "sell its Rayong factory in Thailand to China's Great Wall Motors and withdraw the Chevrolet brand from Thailand by the end of this year," AP reports. "The downsizing is part of a long-running strategy at GM since the Detroit-based company emerged from bankruptcy in 2009," per Bloomberg.

In photos: Deadly Storm Dennis lashes U.K., Ireland and western France

A family is rescued from a property in Nantgarw, Wales, on Sunday. The storm comes a week after the U.K. was battered by storm Ciara, which killed two people, per the BBC. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Storm Dennis continued to pummel parts of England, Wales and Ireland over Sunday night with heavy rain after battering Northern Ireland and Scotland, per the official British weather agency the Met Office.

Why it matters: It's the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean, with its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains that caused widespread flooding across the U.K., the Washington Post notes. Police in Wales confirmed Sunday they found the body of a man who fell into a river as the storm lashed Ystradgynlais.

Sanders accuses Bloomberg of trying to "buy" the 2020 election

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg. Photos: Drew Angerer; Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders tore into 2020 rival Michael Bloomberg at a Las Vegas campaign event Saturday, saying the billionaire and former New York mayor is trying to "buy the presidency" by paying millions of dollars in advertising.

Why it matters: Bloomberg has surged in national polling recently, having poured millions of dollars into campaign ads largely targeting Trump. His candidacy has become an obvious foil for Sanders, whose grassroots campaign railing against billionaires and the establishment has vaulted him to front-runner status.

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