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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

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Oct 26, 2021 - Economy & Business

S&P denies allegations it sells index inclusion

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Can companies buy their way into the S&P 500? That's the explosive allegation made by a recent NBER paper — one that's strenuously denied by S&P itself.

Why it matters: According to S&P's own calculations, some $13.5 trillion is indexed or benchmarked to the S&P 500. That's well over $100,000 per U.S. household. Any question as to the integrity of the index has to be taken seriously.

13 mins ago - Sports

Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance

Former Utah Jazz player John Stockton during a 2017 press conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Gonzaga University suspend the season tickets of notable alumni John Stockton after the NBA Hall of Famer failed to comply with the school's basketball games mask mandate, the Spokesman-Review first reported.

Driving the news: "Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit," the former Utah Jazz point guard told the outlet in an interview Saturday.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Chargés d'Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and non-essential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten embassy's ability to assist Americans.