Subscribe to EIR Online


Americans’ Impoverishment, Federal Reserve Version

June 11, 2016 (EIRNS)—The Federal Reserve released a study on June 3 which found, among other things, that 46% of all American adults are in an income situation which would make it difficult to impossible for them to cover a $400 unexpected expense without being able to charge it to a credit card. They don’t have that much in savings; and one-third of adults have no savings at all, nor a pension. Even among those 60 or older, the Fed study found, more than a quarter have neither pension (other than Social Security for those 65 and up) nor any savings.

Some of the findings were announced on June 3 by Fed Governor Lael Brainard, in a New York Council on Foreign Relations speech in which she also reported near-zero growth in labor productivity in the U.S. economy since "the Great Recession ended" in the second quarter of 2009. Lack of productivity growth and low wages are connected.

The Fed study also found that 60% of American adults expected either that they would keep working indefinitely into their "retirement years," or that their spouse would, or both.

In addition, while the Labor Department’s monthly employment surveys regularly report that only about 5% of the employed workforce are "forced part-time workers," the Federal Reserve reported that 35% of the Americans it surveyed, who work for employers other than themselves, want and need more work than they can get. And the share of such employees who foresaw getting a raise within a year, in any of the jobs they held, was just 23% in 2015, substantially fewer than the year before.

These may be a few of what Janet Yellen and the Federal Open Market Committee usually call "economic headwinds," although they usually claim those are coming from somewhere abroad.

Back to top