A recent report from the US Census Bureau has delivered concerning news: for the first time in years, the number of Americans living below the poverty line has surged.
In 2022, a staggering 12.4 percent of the population found themselves living at or below the poverty level, as reported by USA Today. This marked a significant increase from the previous year when 7.8 percent of the population lived in poverty.
Adding to these woes, it appears that increases in wages have failed to keep up with the rising tide of inflation, as highlighted by the New York Post. Data from the Census Bureau reveals that inflation-adjusted median household income actually dropped by 2.3 percent from 2021 to 2022, plummeting from US$76,330 to US$74,580. In fact, it has seen a distressing decrease of 4.7 percent since its peak in 2019, a year prior to President Biden’s inauguration.
— New York Post (@nypost) September 14, 2023
President Biden has voiced confidence in his economic plan, claiming that “It’s clearer than ever that my economic plan is working”, according to CNBC. He pointed to a slowdown in inflation as a sign of success, but this claim stands in stark contrast to the ongoing price hikes. Even at that time, the Consumer Price Index had surged by 6.5 percent compared to the previous year, as detailed in a Labor Department report.
As of January, inflation had risen by a staggering 13.7 percent since President Biden assumed office, as reported by the New York Post. The term “Bidenomics”, often used to describe his economic policy, has had ample time to demonstrate its effectiveness, and many Americans are reporting a feeling of financial strain as a result.
One New Yorker, Recess Hyde, aged 34, disclosed that he now juggles two jobs to make ends meet and even researches restaurant menus before going on dates to ensure affordability. In his own words, “I’ve cut back on luxuries”.
Regrettably, some Americans are facing even more dire circumstances. Brooklyn resident Tselane Stevens, aged 62, disclosed that after enduring three years of substantial inflation without a pay raise, she resorted to obtaining groceries from a food bank and had to rely on her family for assistance to cover rent.
The number of Americans resorting to second or even third jobs to bridge financial gaps has surged, as reported by the Daily Caller. Furthermore, there has been an increase in the number of individuals accepting part-time employment when full-time work is preferred.
A recent trend has emerged since June, indicating that employers are increasingly unable to provide full-time positions, resulting in a greater number of part-time job opportunities, according to the report. Economist Peter Earle emphasized that these signs point to consumers facing significant financial stress. He noted, “In the face of growing uncertainty about the prospects for growth in coming quarters, some business owners are probably hiring cautiously. That shows up, at times, as a shift from hiring full-time to hiring part-time workers”.
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