WSJ/NBC Poll: Wage Worries Trump Unemployment Fears


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Poll

Americans are more worried that their overtime will be slashed or their wages will be cut than they are about losing their jobs.

Just 15% of people surveyed in the latest WSJ/NBC News poll said it’s likely that they, or someone in their household, could lose their job. The majority, 72%, said it’s only somewhat or not very likely that will happen. (Read the full poll story here.)

Instead, they were more concerned that their overtime hours or bonuses would be slashed. A full 29% said it was likely compared to 52% who said it was just somewhat or not very likely.

The December poll comes as the worst of the recession appears to be over. The unemployment rate dropped to a still-high 10% in November as the economy shed just 11,000 jobs. But wages are still taking a hit. Real average hourly earnings fell a seasonally adjusted 0.5% in November from a month earlier, the Labor Department said Wednesday, an indication that finances are still tight even for those who are employed.

Of those who were surveyed in the WSJ/NBC poll, 11% said someone in their household had already experienced a drop in overtime hours or bonuses and 7% said someone in the household had already lost a job.

Looking ahead the next 12 months, 22% said it was likely that someone in the household would have to take a lower-paying job and 20% said it was likely their wages could be cut.

Meanwhile, more people said they were providing financial support for adult children than for other types of relatives. Some 19% said they were helping support their children over the age of 21 compared to 11% who said they were helping out parents 65 years or older. And 13% said either a parent or adult child was living with them for financial reasons.


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