Inflation is pushing half of Americans to consider second jobs

CBS News

Stubbornly high inflation is pushing more than half of American workers to consider taking a second job, according to a new study from technology company Qualtrics. 

The survey of more than 1,000 adults with full-time jobs found that 38% have looked for a second job, while another 14% plan to do so, the company said. That means “more than half of working Americans have considered holding multiple jobs to pay for their living expenses,” the company said in a statement.

Interest in gig work and so-called side hustles has picked up during the past year as inflation soared to a 40-year high. At the same time, wage growth hasn’t kept pace, which translates into dwindling purchasing power for workers. That’s prompted some to cut back on everyday expenses, while others are planning to trim their holiday spending this year, according to recent MassMutual research.

“With budgets tightening, workers are searching for ways to meet the rising cost of living, including finding new jobs,” said Qualtrics chief workplace psychologist Dr. Benjamin Granger in the statement.

The financial pressures are even worse on workers with children, according to the poll, which surveyed workers in August and September. About 7 in 10 working parents said their pay isn’t keeping up with the cost of living. And about 47% have looked for a second job, compared with 38% of workers overall, the analysis found.

Inflation remains hot despite the Federal Reserve’s regime of interest rate hikes this year, which are designed to temper rising prices. For instance, a key measure of price increases hit a 40-year high last month, with core inflation rising to 6.6% — the highest since 1982.

To cope with higher costs, some workers are seeking more shifts or hours from their employers, while others say they’re looking for a higher-paying job, noted Qualtrics, a maker of business management software. Almost 6 in 10 want the chance to work overtime or extra shifts, while about 4 in 10 have searched for a new job with higher pay.

Meanwhile, more Americans are putting expenses on credit cards as their wages lag inflation. Almost 40% of consumers told financial services company Primerica they are taking on more credit card debt, a 6 percentage-point increase since June.

But accruing credit card debt carries more financial risks than a year ago. Because of the Fed’s rate hikes, credit card companies are charging much higher interest than in 2021. That could lead to a snowball effect if consumers can’t pay down their balances and incur higher interest rates.

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