Have you ever had to juggle funds or make cutbacks in order to make it to your next payday? According to CareerBulder, you are not alone. In fact, 40 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. As startling as that is, the reports says that number is on the decline.
Living paycheck to paycheck
At the height of the Great Recession in 2008, says CareerBuilder, 46 percent of Americans were scraping by between paydays. By 2011, it had fallen to 42 percent. This week’s report says it has continued to decline, to the current rate of 40 percent.
However, that is still at a level that can realistically be called “nearly half.”
CareerBuilder’s survey was conducted online. Nearly 4,000 full-time employed Americans were interviewed between May 14 and June 4, 2012. Forty percent of respondents said they lived pay check to paycheck. Another 37 percent admitted to occasionally living paycheck to paycheck. Another 20 percent said they find themselves in that situation about once a year. Finally, 20 percent said their finances are never that tight.
Of those respondents who were living paycheck to paycheck, 53 percent said they did not do so until 2008, when the financial crisis hit.
Getting better… a little
Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, said:
“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.”
The report has another silver lining, besides the modest decrease in those living from check to check. Haefner says that more than 70 percent of respondents say that the financial crisis has made them better money managers.
“Seventy-two percent of workers report they are more fiscally responsible since the end of the recession.”
To that effort, the report continues, American consumers are cutting back on expenses. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they have cut back on leisure activities since 2008. However, there are some things consumers will not give up, no matter how tight expenses. The largest group — 59 percent — said they can not get by without the Internet. Forty-four percent said they could not give up driving, in spite of high gas prices. Another 29 percent cited cable television as something they are not willing trim. Twenty-four percent said they can’t get by without a cell phone.
Americans seem to be doing a little better at saving, too. Although more than a quarter of those polled — 27 percent — said they were not actively saving for retirement, 30 percent said they put away $250 a month. Ten percent said they put $1,000 or more away every month.
Seeing economy as half-full
Haefner was upbeat about the results of the report, although intimations of an improved job market are certainly in the interest of the job-seeking site.
“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.”