46 Percent of Americans Say Their Financial Status Has Stayed the Same Under Trump, And 21 Percent Say It's Deteriorated

Sixty-seven percent of Americans say their financial situation hasn't substantially improved since President Donald Trump took office, even as the longest recovery in U.S. history continues and the commander in chief touts his economic prowess.

While 46 percent of Americans surveyed for a Bankrate survey published on Wednesday said their economic situation was about the same as when Trump took office in January 2017, 21 percent said their situation has deteriorated. Thirty-two percent said that their economic situation had improved.

The survey illuminates some of the contradictions of the expansion, which has continued for 124 months. The U.S. recovery has been better than those experienced by other countries that suffered in the 2008 financial crisis even though it has proceeded slowly. Unemployment is at a 50-year low and the job market has experienced steady growth, but prior surveys have found that many people don't feel the country's economic improvement.

The Financial Times reported in July that the current decade's growth is worse than any measured by the NBER, aside from the 1930s and early 2000s.

"There's a fair number of people in the nation who look at things like the record low unemployment rate" and other positive indicators and "feel as if the boasting of those things is not consistent with their experience," Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate told Newsweek. "Many Americans feel they're facing significant financial challenges."

Wage growth has struggled through the recession, with the Economic Policy Institute describing it as "slow and flat." Increases in household income have not matched the pace of inflation, according to Investopedia.

A Bankrate survey published last month found that 38 percent of Americans are focused on paying bills, and 19 percent were primarily concerned with paying off or paying down debt. While 29 percent were focused on saving money, more wealthy individuals indicated that this was their primary economic concern. Forty percent of Americans don't have $400 in emergency expenses, a Federal Reserve survey from 2018 found.

"You think about the fact that we've had multiyear gains in home prices that have been substantially higher than the gains in average hourly earnings," Hamrick said.

And the benefits of the recovery have not been evenly spread. Financial Times reported that the wealthy have benefited much more than less affluent Americans.

The Bankrate survey noted that respondents of a higher income bracket were less likely to say their situation deteriorated under Trump. While 31 percent with a household income under $30,000 said their situation had worsened, just 14 percent living in houses with an income with $75,000 or above said their economic situation had declined.

It also found a partisan divide, with 54 percent of Republicans saying their economic situation was better since Trump took office, while seven percent said it had worsened. Twenty-one percent of Democrats said their situation had improved, with 24 percent of Independents holding the same view. A majority of Republicans were also credited Trump for the expansion, while a plurality of Democrats credited former President Barack Obama.

"When we dig down into some of these issues, there is the fact that many Americans see things through a political prism these days given the fractious environment in which we live," Hamrick told Newsweek.

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Traders and financial professionals work at the closing bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on October 11. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
46 Percent of Americans Say Their Financial Status Has Stayed the Same Under Trump, And 21 Percent Say It's Deteriorated | News