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Data: Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index; Chart: Axios Visuals

People with lower incomes are feeling financial vulnerability significantly more than their higher-paid counterparts, according to the Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index.

What's happening: Financial vulnerability relates to the share of Americans who cannot cover basic expenses for a single month with their savings. This is also represented as standard deviations.

What we're hearing: "When it comes to financial vulnerability, the high level of inequality is a feature of the data," Morning Consult chief economist John Leer says.

  • "It is inherently a much bigger issue for lower-income people than higher-income people, since higher-income people do not generally struggle to pay their bills. So, the differences among income groups has remained larger over time."

Yes, but: The index measures whether individuals can pay their bills rather than if they have a set amount of money set aside. That makes it a more accurate proxy for inequality, as higher-income earners tend to also have higher bills.

Watch this space: Rising financial vulnerability and increasing inequality put the economy and policymakers in a "precarious position," Leer says.

  • "What this data show is there are groups of people that are not experiencing the rebound in economic activity the same way."

Go deeper

Chicago Fed index shows U.S. economy struggling to lift off after March rebound

Data: Investing.com; Chart: Dion Rabouin/Axios Visuals

The Chicago Fed's National Activity Index showed the U.S. economy was growing above trend in April but had slowed significantly from March's big rebound, suggesting the economy is having a difficult time gaining traction for a sustained rebound.

By the numbers: April's 0.24 reading was down significantly from the 1.7 reading in March, which followed the first negative reading in almost a year for the index.

Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.