DETROIT - During Bill Clinton's run for president in 1992, you may remember the campaign mantra was, "It's the economy, stupid!" Financial analysts now say lower paychecks are a key reason American workers still feel insecure about their finances.
While the unemployment rate hovers around 8%, many people in a new poll feel that the jobs outlook has improved this year. Bankrate.com's Financial Security Index looks at job security, savings, debt, net worth and the overall financial situation of consumers.
This month the index hit its lowest level since March and experienced its biggest monthly drop since last August. About 1,000 adults were polled via telephone interviews done nationally earlier this month.
Wages Worry Americans
Stagnant wages for the majority of U.S. households have more consumers curbing their spending and worried about paying down debt, according to a Bankrate.com survey released Wednesday. Inflation-adjusted median family income has declined about 6 percent since it peaked at around $64,000 in 2000.
"What's really undermining consumer progress on financial security are stagnant wages," said Greg McBride, Bankrate's senior financial analyst. "If incomes aren't growing it's difficult for people to make headway on debt and savings."
The U.S. Commerce Department reported in June that consumer spending was unchanged and wages were essentially flat in May.
Bottom line, McBride added, "The economy is still stuck in first gear."
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