More than a third of workers scramble between pay days

Sept. 25, 2013 at 12:43 AM
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CHICAGO, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- More than a third of U.S. workers indicated in a recent survey they live paycheck to paycheck, employment firm CareerBuilder said Wednesday.

The percentage of U.S. workers who indicate they have nothing to put aside each month declined slightly from 2012 to 2013, CareerBuilder said.

In a mid-May to early June survey of nearly 3,000 workers conducted by Harris Interactive, 36 percent of workers indicated they usually or always live paycheck to paycheck. That is down from 40 percent in 2012 and down from a peak of 46 percent who indicated they were broke in between paychecks in 2008.

Twenty percent of the respondents indicated they had missed a payment in 2013, with 4 percent indicating they had missed a payment on a substantial bill, such as a mortgage or a car payment.

The survey found 82 percent indicated they were able to get by every month out of the past 12, a slight improvement from the 80 percent in 2012.

While more than a third of workers indicated they frequently or constantly live paycheck to paycheck, about a quarter of workers, 24 percent, indicated they were living within their means and never needed to scramble between paychecks.

Forty percent indicated they were sometimes caught short between paychecks.

"The financial situation for many households remains a struggle, but year-after-year fewer workers report living paycheck to paycheck -- a sign that job security and spending power may be on the rise as the labor market continues to improve," Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, said in a statement.

"More workers are saving their earnings on a monthly basis than last year, and 70 percent feel they are more fiscally responsible post-recession. As more workers join the ranks of the gainfully employed, we expect these positive trends to continue," she said.

The survey found 25 percent indicated they never put anything into savings, a drop from 27 percent in 2012.

When the going gets tough, however, some people get stubborn. The percentage who indicated they would not give up their Internet service regardless of financial concerns: 55 percent. Forty percent indicated they would not give up driving and 36 percent indicated they would not give up their pet, the survey found.

CareerBuilder said the results of the survey -- it can be said with 95 percent certainty -- have a margin of error of plus and minus 1.79 percentage points.

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