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Consumer Index 1/25/13

Each month Consumer Reports asks a cross section of Americans about specific financial problems they've faced in the past thirty days - problems like losing a job … having a problem with health care coverage … or missing a payment on a major bill. Low-income Americans saw an increase in financial troubles in the past month. However, things got much better for higher-income households - those earning 100-thousand dollars or more. You can clearly see the differences when you look at specific problems. For example - not being able to cover health care costs - either medication or medical bills. Among lower-income households, more than 20 percent reported a problem in the past month, but for those in higher-income households, it was 3 percent. As for losing jobs - in lower-income households 10 percent were laid off versus under one percent in higher-income households. Overall the job situation isn't a pretty picture. The Employment Index saw declines for the second month in a row, dropping even farther below 50, which means more people are losing jobs than gaining them. And those who do have jobs are going to see a smaller pay check in January because the payroll tax is back up. I'm Mandy Walker for Consumer Reports. ."

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