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

The gap between the way people in different income groups experienced the U.S. economy got smaller in July, compared to the Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index's June reading.

Why it matters: The economy may be at a turning point as expanded government fiscal support tails off — so signs of increasing inequality could start to pop up in the coming months, Morning Consult chief economist John Leer tells Axios.

How it works: The index compares the sentiment of three income groups — $50,000/year or lower; $50,000-$100,000/year; and $100,000/year-plus.

  • It measures the distance between the higher-income and lower-income groups' sentiment from each other and from the middle — as opposed to providing a snapshot of the distribution of income or wealth. A higher reading means more inequality.

The overall index is made up of four components. The one that most drove July's overall reading was the "employment expectations" sentiment.

  • Nudging the income groups closer together — i.e. driving inequality down — was increased fears of job loss among employed middle-income individuals, bringing them more in line with the high-income group's sentiment.
  • About 9.6% of those in the middle-income group said they feared job loss in the coming four weeks, up from 6.7% a month ago. That more closely matched the high-income group, which was at around 10% in both June and July.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Jul 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Top Moody’s economist: Infrastructure and budget deals will help economy

Schumer. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday will release a report by Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi to push back on GOP attacks, arguing that the bipartisan infrastructure deal and Democrat-only social-spending package would help the economy.

Zandi writes, in excerpts provided to Axios: "Greater investments in public infrastruc­ture and social programs will lift productivity and labor force growth, and the attention on climate change will help forestall its increas­ingly corrosive economic effects."

Updated 30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Pelosi appoints GOP Rep. Kinzinger to Jan. 6 committee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Sunday that she has appointed Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) to serve on the House select committee investigating the Jan 6. Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Pelosi's announcement comes after she rejected two of the five Republican appointments offered by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Mike Allen, author of AM
58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

America's "Friendscape" crisis

New research shows Americans have fewer friends than in the past, and are less likely to have a best friend.

  • Why it matters: At a time of excruciating mental and societal stress, this is another sign we're breaking apart. And the friendship drought could get worse with more people working remotely or hybrid-ly.