Americans express paycheck fears – poll

Nearly 60% of American workers worry they can’t support their families

Some 58% of American workers worry their paycheck is not enough to support them and their families, according to a poll commissioned by the American Staffing Association and published on Wednesday.

Financial anxiety was especially strong among parents with minor children (66%) and Hispanic workers (69%), the survey found. As a result of these concerns, 28% of adults planned to search for a new and presumably better-paying job within the next six months while 27% said they would look for a second job to help bridge the financial gap.

Millennials and Generation Z adults were far more likely to seek out higher-paying jobs – 40% and 36%, respectively – than their Baby Boomer parents, just 13% of whom planned to look for better employment. Nearly half of the older generation worried their age could present a barrier to being hired for a more desirable position.

Even formerly well-compensated workers have seen their paychecks cover substantially less in 2022, with inflation at 40-year highs, than before the Covid-19 pandemic and the money-printing that accompanied it. Average hourly earnings adjusted for inflation have dropped 3.6% over the last year alone.

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Another survey conducted by the US Census Bureau reached similar conclusions, with about a third of respondents reporting it was somewhat or very difficult to cover household expenses. 

Approval ratings for US President Joe Biden are at record lows, with Americans holding him responsible for what many economists believe will be a punishing recession. Between the increased cost of food, near-record high gas prices, and a massive real estate bubble, Americans are finding their finances stretched to the breaking point. Even before the pandemic, nearly two out of three US residents did not have enough savings to cover a surprise $500 expense.

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