Americans report stronger finances in Trump’s first year: Federal Reserve

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The share of Americans who report they are doing “at least okay” financially rose in President Donald Trump’s first year in office, according to Federal Reserve data published on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington, U.S., September 16, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

The data was in line with other readings detailing America’s long recovery from the 2007-09 recession, including years of mostly steady job growth and a more recent uptick in wages.

The U.S. central bank said 74 percent of U.S. adults said their finances were at least okay in 2017, four percentage points higher than in 2016. Improvement was strongest in lower income households.

Still, about two in five adults faced a high likelihood of material hardship, such as an inability to afford sufficient food, medical treatment, housing or utilities, according to the Fed’s report, which was based on a survey of 12,246 people last year.

Also, about one in five people reported they personally knew someone who had been addicted to opioids. White adults were about twice as likely to be personally exposed to opioid addiction than blacks or Hispanics, regardless of education levels, the Fed said.

People exposed to opioid addiction also gave more dismal assessments of the local and national economies, although jobless rates in their areas were not higher than in areas where people were less exposed to opioids, the Fed said in the report.

“This analysis suggests the need to look beyond economic conditions to understand the roots of the current opioid epidemic,” according to the report.

The Fed has conducted the survey since 2013, although last year was the first time people were asked about opioid addiction.

Trump took office in January 2017 after a presidential election campaign that included promises to boost the economy and fight opioid addiction.

While the U.S. unemployment rate had been falling for several years before Trump assumed office, it has continued to fall and is currently at a 17-year low at 3.9 percent.

Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Susan Thomas

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