Beyond The Fiscal Data: Covering Economic Anxiety

by October 27, 2015
The Federal Reserve. Photo via Wikimedia Commons user AgnosticPreachersKid.

The Federal Reserve. Photo via Wikimedia Commons user AgnosticPreachersKid.

Marketplace, the public radio program, discovered something alarming in the nation’s economic data.

All the numbers from the federal government, from jobs to housing, pointed to a better economy. But, the American public doesn’t seem convinced that things are actually better.

So, Marketplace and Edison Research developed their first-ever national index of economic anxiety, and the findings are pretty extraordinary.

According to the survey:

  • 63 percent said they are sometimes or frequently anxious about their financial situation
  • 42 percent said they feel stuck in their current financial situation
  • 27 percent said they are not financially secure
  • 28 percent said their personal financial situation causes them to lose sleep

And, Marketplace found Americans also report “a lot” of fear about paying monthly bills. More than 10 percent fear being unable to make a car payment, more than 10 percent fear being unable to make a mortgage payment, more than 25 percent fear being unable to pay rent and more than 33 percent fear not being able to make a student loan payment.

Other fears include not having enough saved for retirement, an unexpected medical bill and not being able to afford college for their children.

It’s the kind of survey that print, Web and broadcast reporters anywhere in the country can use as a launching point for their own stories.

Marketplace published all kinds of demographic information about its survey, which you can find here.

The program is also asking its audience to share stories of how they feel about the economy, something that you also can do with your readers and listeners.

We’ve written about the Federal Reserve’s reluctance to raise interest rates. Perhaps surveys like this one are an indication of why.