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Economist: Today's workers struggling to provide

Economist Oren Cass said Friday that middle-class families in America are struggling to make ends meet, despite low unemployment numbers.

"The standard [economic] measures tell us lots of useful things, but what they don't tell us is how households are able to cope with rising costs in the economy," Cass, executive director of American Compass, told Hill.TV.

To better understand how middle- and working-class families are doing, Cass created a new benchmark called the cost of thriving index.

Cass said that his new measure shows that it's very difficult for an average American who has a family to afford the cost of a car, housing and health care.

"What you see is the ability of a worker to actually buy these things for his family has really eroded over time," he explained.

Cass went into detail about his findings in a tweet last month.

"In 1985, the typical male worker could cover a family of four's major expenditures (housing, health care, transportation, education) on 30 weeks of salary," he tweeted. "By 2018 it took 53 weeks. Which is a problem, there being 52 weeks in a year."