Moody’s Chief Economist: Only Top Third of Income Distribution Doing Well, Rest Are Just ‘Okay’ or in Trouble

On Friday’s “CNN Newsroom,” Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi stated that people in the top third of the income distribution are doing quite well, but those in the middle are “okay” and the bottom third face “very, very difficult, very, very tough” circumstances.

Zandi said, “[O]nly half of Americans, maybe a bit more, own stock. And it’s probably only a third of Americans that own enough stock to really make a difference. Two-thirds of Americans own their own home. So, they’re benefiting from the run-up in house prices. But a third of Americans rent, and that means that, for many of them, they’ll be locked out of buying a home because they can’t afford the high house prices with the high mortgage rates. So, if you’re in the top third of the income distribution, everything’s fine. You’re doing really well. You’re enjoying those high stock prices. You’ve got a job. Wages are rising. If you’re in the middle part of the distribution, in the middle third, you’re doing okay. You’re kind of, it’s not great, it’s not bad, it’s just about typical. But if you’re in the bottom third of the distribution, very, very difficult, very, very tough to navigate through that. And that’s why we’re hearing these angry voices. Now, I’m hopeful, things are moving in the right direction. Inflation is down, food prices, by the way, Jim, haven’t moved in a whole year in aggregate, they’ve not gone anywhere, wages are rising, and, with each passing month, I think people will feel a bit better, but there’s no game-changing event here. This is a process.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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