42 Percent of Workers Live Check to Check

newsA new survey released by CareerBuilder – a major job board and global leader in human capital solutions, suggests that the number of workers living check to check has returned to pre-recession levels.

42 percent of workers say they usually or always live paycheck to paycheck, an slight improvement over the 2010 data that suggested 43 percent of workers had the same trouble. The new figures are similar to levels seen back in 2007. Only one-in-five workers say they have missed bill payments in the last year, an improvement compared to last year. The survey was conducted among 2,534 hiring managers and over 5,200 U.S. workers from May 18, 2011 to June 3, 2011.

“A better employment picture in the U.S. has brought more steady incomes into households and workers are paying much closer attention to spending decisions and savings,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “The majority of U.S. workers (72 percent) reported they are more fiscally responsible since the recession and have made a variety of changes to their living and spending habits.”

The burden of financial obligations still falls more heavily on women than on men, the Careerbuilder survey also noted. 46 percent of female workers say they live paycheck to paycheck compared to only 38 percent of men.

What would you give up if living check to check?

Curiously, 14 percent of those making 6 figures a year also reported living paycheck to paycheck. These individuals might have substantial debt or live in areas with a higher cost of living. Indulging in modern day conveniences may also be a factor. A number of workers said they would refuse to give up the following items, regardless of financial obligations:

  • Internet connection – 56 percent
  • Driving – 46 percent
  • Mobile phone – 42 percent
  • Cable TV – 27 percent
  • Going out to eat – 11 percent

However, it’s important to note that some of these amenities might be necessary for specific jobs. A really nice infograph of the survey’s complete findings can be found here.

in Labor Statistics]
Marie Larsen
Marie is a writer for Recruiter.com covering career advice, recruitment topics, and HR issues. She has an educational background in languages and literature as well as corporate experience in Human Resources.