Trade Talk: Most U.S. workers live paycheck-to-paycheck, survey shows

If you count down to payday, you’re far from alone.

Seventy-eight percent of U.S. workers at least sometimes live paycheck-to-paycheck, according to new research by CareerBuilder. Of those, 23 percent and 17 percent said they always or usually live paycheck-to-paycheck — including 9 percent of those earning $100,000 or more.

Of 3,462 full-time workers recently surveyed online by Harris Poll for CareerBuilder, 59 percent of those earning $100,000 or more reported being in debt, while 70 percent of workers earning $50,000 to $99,999 are, and 73 percent making $50,000 or less. Perhaps most notably, 56 percent of those in debt felt they’d always owe.

Meanwhile, 18 percent of respondents reported reducing their 401(k) contributions and/or personal savings in the past year, while 38 percent and 26 percent don’t contribute to retirement plans or savings accounts, respectively. Fifty-six percent save $100 or fewer dollars a month, while only 32 percent stick to defined budgets.

No-budge budget items

Regardless of financial concerns, employees refused to give up certain amenities including internet connection, 54 percent; smartphones, 53 percent; driving, 48 percent; pets, 37 percent; cable TV, 21 percent; dining out, 19 percent; traveling, 17 percent; education, 13 percent; gifts, 13 percent; and alcohol, 11 percent.

To alleviate some financial burden, 45 percent employers that are hiring minimum-wage workers this year plan to raise the minimum wage at their organizations, according to the survey.

Meanwhile, howmuch.net reported last week that the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculated an average overall income of $74,664, up 7.6 percent over last year. Housing accounts for almost one-third of all expenses. Americans spend more on housing ($18,886) than they do on health care, entertainment, clothing and other miscellaneous expenses combined ($15,342).

Transportation is the second biggest expense at $9,049, or $754 each month. This category includes the down payment spent on a car as well as gas, oil changes and repairs. Transportation and housing expenses ($27,935) are almost as expensive as everything else consumers buy ($29,376).

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