Six in 10 Workers Living Hand to Mouth

With unemployment now at 9.7 percent at the end of August and expected to rise to 10 percent, it's not a surprise to see so many living from paycheck to paycheck.

Of the 4,000 workers surveyed by CareerBuilder, six in 10 people are living from pay day to pay day, including many who earn more than $100,000 a year. The rapid exhaustion of funds is not surprising with so many out of work, and so many former dual-income families being supplemented by only one income, or by mounting costs left over from high interest home loans.
These numbers are up 49 percent from 2008, and 43 percent from 2007. Here is what else CareerBuilder is reporting:

  • 1 in 5 workers have reduced 401(k) contributions and personal savings

  • 23 percent of those who earn $100,000 have also reduced these contributions

  • 36 percent forgo any 401(k)

  • 33 percent do not save at all

  • 30 percent put in $100 or less

  • 16 percent put in $50 or less

"Workers are employing a variety of tactics to help make ends meet in this economy," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder, in a news release. "Whether it's by keeping a tighter budget, finding ways to bring in additional income or adjusting their savings strategies, workers are doing their best to weather the current storm. These good financial habits will not only help workers in the short term, but better position them for the future."
This is not a regional crisis; it's a pervasive one. In a report on August unemployment, 27 states have seen a rise in the ranks of those without work. California and Nevada have now reached record states of joblessness. Michigan is now seeing a rate of 15.2 percent in August, says recent government data.
"There's still a fair amount of weakness in some of the larger states," said Bloomberg News. "State finances are probably going to be among the last of all the various components of the broad economy to turn around."
Other large metropolitan areas in the largely populated states of New York and New Jersey have seen their rates rise in August as well, up over 10.3 percent in New York City alone.