CareerBuilder Survey: 40% of Workers Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck

Broken piggy bank

August 22, 2012

If you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck or saving little to no money each month, a new survey suggests that you are not without company.

According to a press release, the survey, conducted by CareerBuilder, indicates that 40 percent of the 3,892 surveyed U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck. While this figure may seem high to some, it is actually a recession-era low: Forty-two percent of workers lived paycheck-to-paycheck last year, which was still lower than the 46 percent of people who did so at the peak of the recession in 2008.

"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," Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, said in the press release. "Seventy-two percent of workers report they are more fiscally responsible since the end of the recession, and as the labor market continues to improve, we expect more workers will again be able to spend in ways that will drive the economy forward."

Business Insider reports the likelihood of living paycheck to paycheck varies by age group, but not significantly. According to the data, 43 percent of those between 45 and 54 years of age are likely to live this way, followed by 42 percent of those between the ages of 35 and 44. At 40 percent, those between 18 and 34 were least likely to struggle. Gender also played a role. According to the survey, 44 percent of women compared to 36 percent of men rely on their next paycheck.

Not all data indicated an improvement in fiscal responsibility, however. As noted by Kapitall Wire, more than a quarter of Americans cannot manage to save any money on a monthly basis. Of those who can, most (17 percent) save $50 or less each month; only 10 percent are able to save more than $1,000. Sixty-seven percent note that they are still able to contribute to a 401K or other retirement plan, though a fifth say they have had to reduce their contributions in the last year. Workers age 55 and older are most likely to contribute to a retirement plan (73 percent).

The survey also looked at where Americans re-evaluated their budgets in order to make ends meet. The expenses deemed most indispensable: Internet connections (57 percent), driving (44 percent), pets (39 percent), cable TV (29 percent) and mobile phones (24 percent).

Compiled by Aimee Hosler


"Here Are The People Most Likely To Live Paycheck To Paycheck,", August 20, 2012, Vivian Giang

"Infographic: 40% of Americans Are Living Paycheck to Paycheck,", August 21, 2012, Dan Connelly

"Percentage of U.S. Workers Living Paycheck to Paycheck Reaches Recession-Era Low, Finds CareerBuilder Survey,", August 15, 2012

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