Americans’ financial standing improving

Job openings and home values fuel rise in PFSi.

Americans' financial happiness has reached its highest levels since the recession, according to the second quarter Personal Financial Satisfaction Index (PFSi), which was released by the AICPA.

An increased number of job openings, a rise in home values, and a decrease in loan delinquencies helped the PFSi gain 1.9 points over the first quarter. The PFSi, a measure of the financial standing of the average American, now measures 15.0, its highest level since 2007 and 18.2 points higher than it was during the second quarter last year.

The recent increase in the PFSi, however, was the smallest in the past four quarters, perhaps the latest sign that the economy may be losing momentum. Retail sales fell 0.3% in June. The U.S. Commerce Department had initially expected a slight gain over May.

The rise in the PFSi reflects recent improvements in the U.S. housing market, particularly an increase in real home equity per capita and a decline in mortgage loan delinquencies. Other major factors contributing to the PFSi's rise include improved job growth and reduced inflation.

Historically low inflation, partly driven by a drop in oil prices, has been the factor most responsible for the PFSi's rise in the past year.

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