WASHINGTON – "The economy," Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell declared this week, "is doing very well."
And it is. Steady hiring has shrunk unemployment to 3.8 percent — the lowest since the 1960's. Consumers are spending. Taxes are down. Inflation is tame. Factories are busy. Demand for homes is strong. Household wealth is up.
Yet the numbers that collectively sketch a picture of a vibrant economy don't reflect reality for a range of Americans who still feel far from financially secure even nine years into an economic expansion.
From drivers paying more for gas and families bearing heavier child care costs to workers still awaiting decent pay raises and couples struggling to afford a home, people throughout the economy are straining to succeed despite the economy's gains.