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Half of Americans are just one paycheck away from financial disaster

Published: May 17, 2019
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Source: Market Watch

Missing more than one paycheck is a one-way ticket to financial hardship for nearly half of the country’s workforce.

A new study from NORC at the University of Chicago, an independent social research institution, found that 51% of working adults in the United States would need to access savings to cover necessities if they missed more than one paycheck.

Certain communities were more prone to economic hardship in the event of missing a paycheck. Roughly two-thirds of households earning less than $30,000 annually and Hispanic households would be unable to cover basic living expenses after missing more than one paycheck, the researchers found.

The findings were based on a survey of more than 1,000 adults. The researchers interviewed a nationally representative panel designed to be indicative of the U.S. population.

The survey provides a sobering look at Americans’ precarious finances even as the economy is improving, jobs are more plentiful and the stock market has — despite this week’s volatility — generally continued its upward trajectory this year.

Though wage growth has accelerated recently, those gains have been concentrated among the wealthiest Americans most.

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