4 in 10 U.S. workers living paycheque to paycheque: Survey

Lowest percentage since start of recession in 2008
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 08/17/2012

Fewer American workers are reliant on their next payday to make ends meet, according to a new CareerBuilder survey. Forty per cent of workers report that they always or usually live paycheque to paycheque, a slight decrease from 42 per cent in 2011. This year’s figure marks a recession-era low, continuing a downward trend from a peak of 46 per cent in 2008, during the early days of the financial crisis.

The nationwide survey of 3,800 full-time workers found that a majority of those currently living paycheck to paycheck (53 per cent) were not doing so until 2008. Additionally, 37 per cent of workers said they sometimes live paycheck to paycheck, while 23 per cent said they never do. Twenty per cent of workers were unable to make ends meet at least once in the last year.

Workers making at least six figures are feeling more confident in 2012. Twelve per cent of workers who earn US$100,000 or more always or usually live paycheque to paycheque — trending down from 14 per cent in 2011 and 17 per cent in 2010.

“Making ends meet remains a challenge for millions of households, but the situation has improved for workers who’ve grown more confident with their job security or who’ve taken steps to pay down debt and save more,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice-president of human resources at CareerBuilder. 

Consistent with past studies, women (44 per cent) are more likely than men (36 per cent) to live paycheque to paycheque.

Compared to other age groups, workers close to retirement (55+) are least likely (34 per cent) to report living paycheque to paycheque, while those aged 45 to 54 are the most likely (43 per cent).

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