Are Your Finances in Better Shape Now Than a Year Ago?

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Despite numerous headlines of falling unemployment levels and rising asset prices, many Americans do not feel better off financially than a year earlier. In fact, the number of people who say they are worse off actually increased.

Overall, nearly two-thirds of people polled by Gallup believe their personal financial situations deteriorated or were stable over the past year. According to a new survey from Gallup, 42 percent of Americans say their personal finances are in worse shape than a year ago, which is 8 percentage points above the historical average. The situation was most dire in May and September 2008, when 55 percent felt financially worse.

Only 35 percent of Americans say they are better off financially from last year compared to the historical average of 38 percent. Meanwhile, 22 percent feel their financial situations have stayed the same. The results are not too surprising, given the slow improvement in the labor market.

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