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U.S. households faring better but facing uncertainty

The Federal Reserve Board has reported that data collected to supplement the Board's seventh annual Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking showed that U.S. families were faring better financially in July than in April, but many still faced uncertainty regarding layoffs and prospects for returning to work. In July, 77 percent of adults said they were doing at least okay financially, up from 72 percent in early April, and 75 percent in October 2019. This increase is likely due to some people returning to work as well as the availability of assistance programs either from the government or from charitable organizations. A substantial number of families received one or more forms of financial assistance, and the effects of these programs were apparent in people's overall financial well-being and ability to cover expenses.

The July survey demonstrated that people appeared better able to handle small financial emergencies than they were nine months prior in October 2019. Seventy percent of adults said in July that they would be able to pay an unexpected $400 emergency expense entirely by using cash, savings, or a credit card paid off at the next statement—an increase from 63 percent last October.

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