38% of hourly workers don’t make a living wage

April 23, 2018

A record number of employed Americans not making a living wage, based on findings of a poll conducted by Snag—an employment site for hourly workers—and released on April 20.

For its State of the Hourly Worker Report, Snag contacted 2,100 U.S. adults across all industries making $20 or less per hour

Fully 38% of respondents consider themselves to be underemployed. The report defines the underemployed as those who are currently employed hourly or rely on gig work as their primary source of income—but still need more hours to make ends meet.

Other notable findings reveal that:

  • Women account for 70% of the underemployed compared to 30% of men;
  • Half of Millennials (52%) are underemployed, followed by  nearly one-third (29%) of Gen-Xers;
  • Nearly half of restaurant workers (47%) consider themselves to be underemployed, followed by retail workers (41%) and hospitality workers (38%);
  • Of the underemployed, one in four (25%) work over 35 hours a week; and
  • On average, full-time workers make $3 an hour more than their part-time counterparts—and receive more perks and benefits, including paid time off, health insurance and a 401(k) plan.

For the underemployed, one job often isn’t enough to cover basic living expenses. The majority (80%) of underemployed workers are willing to work multiple jobs to get the hours they need, although 74% would prefer to work a single full-time job.

More than half (54%) of underemployed workers are actively searching for a better full-time job, and about one-third (32%)  already are working a side hustle, such as Uber or Lyft, to supplement their income.

Hourly jobs account for nearly 60% of the American workforce and 94% of net new job growth is hourly. People need to wake up. Underemployment is a big problem,” said Snag CEO Peter Harrison, adding, “It’s deceiving. Most see unemployment hovering around 4% as a signal that Americans are well-employed and thriving, but this is simply not the case.”

Research contact: @snag

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