The share of adults who say they would be able to cover a $400 emergency expense reaches 9-year high

More Americans reported feeling good about their own financial situation last year, but had less positive feelings about the economy.

The quota that said they were “well or living comfortably financially” in 2021 reached a maximum of nine years and was the highest quota since the Federal Reserve Board began conducting a national survey on the economic well-being of Americans. The Fed has been conducting the Home Economics and Decision Making Survey (SHED) since 2013.

“This important perspective helps the Federal Reserve better understand the economic challenges that existed during this phase of the pandemic recovery,” Federal Reserve Board Governor Michelle Bowman said in a statement.

In a report released on Monday from a survey, 78% of adults said they were at least well into the fourth quarter of 2021, up 3 percentage points from 2020. increasing the proportion of people who said they were fine. it was seen in all racial and ethnic groups.

It also increased the proportion of adults who said they could cover a $ 400 emergency expense with cash, savings, or a credit card they could pay when the next bill was due. 68%, also 9- a year higher since the survey began in 2013. 11% of respondents said they could not afford an $ 400 emergency expense “in any way,” similar to the 12 % who said it in 2020).

The survey was conducted last October and November, before the omicron variant and before inflation reached a record 40-year high in March, when the consumer price index showed that prices rose by 8, 5% in 12 months.

About 15% of workers reported being in a different job than 12 months earlier. Most of those who changed jobs said the change of job was an improvement.

At the same time, despite the increase in people who feel good about their individual finances, the proportion of people who rated the economy as “good or excellent” fell by two percentage points to 24% in 2021. , or “about half the rate observed in 2019,” the report’s authors noted.

Since there was only one question about how people thought the economy was doing, officials said there were not enough details to explain the disconnect between the two perceptions. It may be because people take different factors into account when measuring their own financial lives compared to that of the nation as a whole, Fed officials told reporters in a press release about the report.

The survey also showed that the pandemic continued to play a role in people’s career and employment decisions in 2021. About 15% of adults said they had changed jobs in the previous 12 months and most reported that their new job was better.

The survey also highlighted the importance of being able to work remotely for many employees. The responses suggested that the ability to work from home was as important as pay for some.

During the week of the survey, 22% of employees worked entirely from home, below 29% by the end of 2020, but well above the 7% who worked completely from home before the pandemic.

“Among those working from home, the proportion of employees who would look for another job if their employer required them to work in person was similar to the proportion who would be in charge of a pay freeze,” the report says.

“Most employees who worked from home preferred to do so, often citing work-life balance and less travel time. Those who worked from home indicated that they would be more or less likely to look for a new job if they should be returned to the office as if their employer were instituting a pay freeze.

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