41-year high inflation and soaring gasoline prices are wreaking havoc across the country. Now, a new survey shows American hourly workers are the hardest hit by these challenges, with 81% saying record high prices at the gas pump have had a negative effect on their ability to pay for other expenses.
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The new Harris Poll, commissioned by DailyPay and Funding Our Future, has found that these financial hardships hit some communities more than others.
“Unfortunately, this is not surprising at all. Recent data shows that 49% of Americans do not have enough money to cover a $400 emergency,” Jeanniey Walden, chief innovation officer at DailyPay, told GOBankingRates. “With so many people living paycheck to paycheck, any dramatic increase in the cost of daily expenses will be detrimental. With the recent spike in gas prices and inflation, hourly workers must either cut back on their expenses or resort to potentially financially crippling options such as payday loans or bank account overdrafts to reach two ends.
The survey found that 75% of hourly workers have struggled to pay their expenses this year. At the top of the list are groceries, gas, utilities, and rent/mortgage.
Walden said it was surprising those numbers weren’t higher.
“Most hourly workers drive to work, and gas prices have seen the biggest increase – by almost 50% – with other necessities such as groceries up around 12% “, she said. “The average American family now spends almost $330 more per month than last year, according to Moody’s Analytics. This trend will likely continue depending on the macroeconomic and geopolitical backdrop, including global supply chain challenges and the war in Ukraine.
Compounding these difficulties, 35% of all hourly workers report having received no pay raise in the past year, a figure that rises to 49% for hourly workers in households earning less than $50,000 a year. year.
There is also a gender gap in how it affects women, with 39% saying they save less than last year, compared to just 28% of men.
“Women face additional financial burdens that may prevent them from saving, compared to men, which have only been exaggerated during the pandemic,” Walden said. “The cost and responsibility of childcare has fallen disproportionately on women during the pandemic, forcing many out of the workforce altogether.
In turn, the survey notes that these issues take a huge toll on employee well-being, with 77% saying the stress of managing finances is detrimental to their health.
“With such a tight job market, employee retention is a challenge for almost every business. Engaged employees who feel valued are more productive, less stressed, and stay on the job longer,” Walden said.
Asked what employers can do to alleviate this stress, Walden said that “a great way for employers to strengthen their commitment to their employees is to provide benefits that make a difference in their lives, including childcare. children, commuting allowances, carpooling incentives, pet insurance, and over-demanding compensation.
Finally, the survey found that 40% of hourly workers with a household income of less than $100,000 say they save less than last year or not at all, compared to 31% of hourly workers with a household income of less than $100,000. household is $100,000 or more.
Walden said, however, that with the right tools and knowledge, savings can still be made, despite inflation and rising prices everywhere. She offered some tips, including creating a decision matrix.
“Your decision matrix should list the pros and cons of making your decision in the near term — meaning within the next three months, six months, and a year from now,” she explained. . “Set a budget and stick to it. Be wise about how you spend your money. Avoid costly and unnecessary purchases. When buying property, go for the affordable option.
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She also recommends signing up for an automated savings program through your bank or pay-as-you-go provider.
“Set a savings goal. As you continue to earn more money throughout your career, be sure to increase your contributions to your savings. When you set a goal, it’s easier to remember to save and stick to it,” she added.
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