Nearly 12% of Americans See Incomes Decrease as Business Slows

couple working on budget, paying bills

More and more Americans are seeing income levels drop, a new labor market survey shows.

As Bloomberg News reported Wednesday (Oct. 4), a survey by Morning Consult finds that the share of consumers with declining incomes has crept from 10.7% in August to 11.8% last month, a trend mainly driven by middle-income households.

Of respondents who make at least $100,000 a year, nearly a fifth said they expect their incomes to decline in the next month.

According to Bloomberg, the poll also suggests slowing business activity, with 46.7% of respondents saying they work more than 35 hours per week, the lowest level in more than two years. Most respondents said this was due to soft business conditions.

But workers are still bullish about getting raises, with the poll showing a rise in their belief in their own bargaining power. Workers are also seeking new employment, with job search activity among prime-age adults hitting its highest level in at least three years.

The poll comes as recent PYMNTS Intelligence finds that 72% of employed consumers think their wages have barely kept up with inflation or have not kept up at all.

Data from the latest “Consumer Inflation Sentiment Report” finds that 40% of employed consumers say that their salary doesn’t meet their expectations, a sentiment shared by nearly half of those who make under $50,000 per year.

“While consumers expect inflation to drop back to pre-2021 levels by January 2025, consumers’ purchasing power is still 11% lower than it was two years ago,” PYMNTS wrote recently. “To counter the erosion of their purchasing power, consumers are actively seeking additional work or even switching jobs to find better salary prospects.”

The survey also showed that 41% of employed consumers have picked up extra work, a trend led by Generation Z and millennial workers. Even higher-income workers, including those making more than $100,000 per year, are not immune to worries about inflation and rising prices, leading them to look for extra employment.

Of the workers who say their job doesn’t meet their salary expectations, 16% said they do not see themselves staying with their employer in six months, a sign that the phenomenon known as the great resignation hasn’t gone away. It’s a trend particularly evident among workers making $50,000 to $100,000 per year, including millennials and bridge millennials.