WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — A Federal Reserve report finds that Americans are continuing to struggle even five years after the Great Recession, with one-quarter of U.S. families saying they are “just getting by.”

The Fed report published in July finds that as of September 2013 – when the central bank conducted its polls – one-quarter of American families are “just getting by” while an additional 13 percent are struggling to make ends meet five years after the devastating housing crash and tanking U.S. economy from the Great Recession.

“Given that respondents were being asked to compare their incomes to 2008, when the United States was in the depths of the financial crisis, the fact that over two-thirds of respondents reported being the same or worse off financially highlights the uneven nature of the recovery,” the Federal Reserve said in the report.

More than one-third of those polled (34 percent) said they are doing “somewhat or much worse” than in 2008, while the same percentage of Americans said they are treading water financially. Thirty percent say they are better off.

Forty-two percent of respondents said that they had delayed a major purchase or expense directly due to the recession, while 18 percent put off what they considered to be a major life decision. More than half of those surveyed said they were putting some portion of their income away in savings, but one-fifth were spending more money than they make.

However, the Fed report that surveyed 4,100 U.S. households shows that more than 60 percent of U.S. families are either “doing OK” or “living comfortably.”

Sixty-one percent said that they expected their income to stay the same in the next 12 months, 21 percent expect it to increase – but 16 percent expect their income to decline in the coming year. Over 50 percent of renters said they had to curb their spending over the prior 12 months in order to pay the rent.

Nearly one-third of those surveyed said they had applied for at least some type of credit in the past year, and one-third of those applicants said they were rejected.

Retirement, education and jobs were the top three financial concerns of those included in the Fed survey.


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