Survey: Three-Quarters of Americans Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck

Survey: Three-Quarters of Americans Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck

The evidence continues to mount that many American workers—even in professional fields—are struggling to make ends meet. Last month, a labor market analysis from Indeed showed that fewer than one in five US jobs paid enough to keep pace with rising living costs, and now a new CareerBuilder survey finds that 75 percent of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck:

Thirty-eight percent of employees said they sometimes live paycheck-to-paycheck, 15 percent said they usually do and 23 percent said they always do. While making ends meet is a struggle for many post-recession, those with minimum wage jobs continue to be hit the hardest. Of workers who currently have a minimum wage job or have held one in the past, 66 percent said they couldn’t make ends meet and 50 percent said they had to work more than one job to make it work. …

It’s not just minimum wage workers who are struggling. Nineteen percent of workers at all salary levels were not able to make ends meet every month during the past year, and while the likelihood of living paycheck-to-paycheck naturally decreases for workers with higher salaries, it’s affecting all salary ranges. Nine percent of workers making $100,000 or more feel they usually or always live paycheck-to-paycheck. Twenty-three percent of workers making $50,000-$99,999, and 51 percent of those making less than $50,000 feel they usually or always do to make ends meet.

Further, 68 percent of all workers say they’re in debt, and while 46 percent say it’s manageable, it should be noted that 16 percent of all workers have reduced their 401k contribution and/or personal savings in the last year, more than a third (36 percent) do not participate in a 401k plan, IRA or comparable retirement plan, and 25 percent have not set aside any savings each month in the last year.

Rising costs of living are one factor putting upward pressure on wages—for example, REI recently announced cost-of-living raises targeted toward store employees in cities that have become notably more expensive in recent years—but in some sectors, this trend is motivating both organizations and talent to relocate to more affordable locales. High costs have motivated many tech employees to look for work outside Silicon Valley, where in an ironic twist, a Palo Alto urban planning commissioner just announced that she was resigning because she and her husband could no longer afford to live there.