Inflation has continued to take its toll on American households, with a new report from LendingClub showing that 64% of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck by the end of 2022. This number is up from 61% a year prior and is near the historic high first seen in March 2020.
The research conducted by Pymnts.com and LendingClub Corp. revealed that 166 million individuals, or 64% of Americans, are living paycheck to paycheck. 66 percent of middle-income consumers with an annual income of $50,000 to 100,000 are still living paycheck to paycheck, which is the same figure as the previous year. But among low-income individuals — those earning less than $50,000 annually — the number jumps to 78 percent.
Even those of us who are earning salaries of $100,000 or higher per year still experience difficulties sticking to a budget each month. In fact, this demographic is struggling even more today: 51% of consumers who earn $100,000 or more per year say they live paycheck-to-paycheck, 9.3 million more than this time last year, according to data from LendingClub and PYMNTS.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all items rose 6.5 percent for the 12 months ending in December. While that is down from a peak of 9.1 percent recorded over the summer, it is still about three times higher than the pre-pandemic average.
To make ends meet, 27% of Americans said they've had to take money out of savings and more than half, or 54%, said they used that money to pay for everyday expenses, such as groceries and rent, the recent Country Financial Security Index found.
The decline in stock prices and property values will have a “negative wealth effect,” exacerbating these dynamics, according to Lydia Boussour, senior economist at EY Parthenon.
Less than half of survey respondents anticipate that their incomes will be able to keep up with inflation, meaning that 2023 may bring more financial strain. Other signs also suggest a certain degree of financial strain. According to the most recent University of Michigan survey, consumer sentiment has increased from the year's low points, yet still remains substantially lower than before the pandemic started.
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