According to surveys, 81% of hourly workers have cut back because of high gas prices [Video]

Hourly workers are being hit hard by the effects of inflation and high fuel prices, a new survey finds.

Eighty-one percent of these workers report that higher gas costs have limited their ability to pay for other things. Seventy-seven percent say financial stress is affecting their health — and 22 percent report turning to payday loans this year to fill the gaps.

These are “some really stark findings,” said Emerson Sprick, a policy analyst at the Bipartisan Center who helped oversee the poll. during a Yahoo Finance Live interview on Thursday. He added that gas prices are “causing people to make real compromises between gas and groceries, between getting a car repaired and getting health care, which is where they spend their money.”

The latest data from the American Automobile Association finds prices just under $5 a gallon In the US, respondents report that the general inflationary environment has led to difficulties paying for a wide range of everyday expenses such as groceries, gas, utilities and rent.

SCITUATE, MA – June 13: Gasoline prices hit well over $5.00 per gallon at a Sunoco station on June 13, 2022 in Scituate, Massachusetts. (Photo by Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

The data comes from a new Harris poll released this week on behalf of DailyPay and Funding Our Future, an alliance of organizations dedicated to helping all Americans have a safe retirement, and is a partner of Yahoo Finance. This survey was conducted in May among 2,032 US adults, 654 of whom reported being hourly workers.

The results show how the recent economic downturn has exacerbated the financial fragility that many Americans have long felt. A much-cited 2018 to learn of the Federal Reserve found that “if faced with an unexpected $400 expense, 40% of adults either couldn’t meet it or would meet it by selling something or borrowing money.” Recent Research found that a third of working adults worry about their ability to pay for financial problems like car repairs.

In the meantime, in May, the US savings rate hit its lowest level since 2008dry up when inflation outpaces wage increases.

This week’s survey also reveals greater challenges in saving for the future. Four out of 10 hourly workers with a household income of less than $100,000 say they are saving less than last year or not at all. And 39% of all women who earn an hourly wage say they save less than in the previous year.

“Women bear the brunt of many of these labor market dynamics,” says Sprick. “They are forced to balance work and other duties in a way that men as a whole cannot.”

Make ends meet

The poll also offers clues as to where many poorer Americans are turning to to make ends meet. Twenty-two percent of hourly workers say they’ve taken out a payday loan this year, a number that jumps to almost a third if you just look at 18- to 34-year-olds.

The poll organizers say employers can do more to offer things like on-demand payments as a benefit to help their workers avoid payday loans, which charge exorbitant interest rates and can have harmful long-term consequences for a family’s financial health.

“To clear up a common misconception, this isn’t about paying people upfront,” notes Sprick. “It’s just about paying people on time and making sure people have access to their wages as they earn those wages.”

DailyPay, one of the organizers of the survey, offers employers on-demand pay products.

Lawmakers in Washington are also trying to push ideas to help Americans Put money in an emergency savings account. However, these provisions are still being negotiated, with effects not expected to be felt until 2023 at the earliest.

Ben Werschkul is a writer and producer for Yahoo Finance based in Washington, DC.

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