United States

Financial Struggles Worsen For Americans Amid Inflation | Which Jobs Will Sustain And Which Will Decline?

Americans are facing financial struggles amid inflation and stagnant wages. Surveys have found that almost half of Americans are finding it difficult to sustain life with their current salary and there seems no relaxation in the near future.

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Nearly half of Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their financial stability, according to a new poll by Monmouth University’s Polling Institute. The survey found that 46 percent of respondents are struggling to stay afloat financially.

According to the poll, 45 percent of Americans consider their financial situation “basically stable,” while only 9 percent reported an improvement. Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, attributed these struggles to the lingering effects of rapid inflation following the pandemic.

“Even with a declining inflation rate, prices continue to be much higher than they were four years ago,” Murray said. “That’s the metric that has really mattered to many Americans over the past two years. Economic concerns may not be the top motivating factor for all voters but it defines the contours of this year’s election.”

The poll that was conducted from June 6-10 with a sample of 1,106 people and a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points showed a rise in financial struggles compared to six months ago, with an increase from 44 percent to 46 percent. 24 percent of respondents identified inflation and rising prices as the biggest concern facing their family.

Another report by a personal finance platform, MoneyWise, describes more about the grim situtation, indicating that 97 percent of occupations have not seen salaries keep up with inflation over the past five years.

MoneyWise analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Housing Agency, and Redfin, and found that average salaries have fallen by 8.2 percent while home prices have surged by 56 percent.

Of the 20 most common jobs in America, only one – waitstaff – is expected to see an increase in salary adjusted for inflation by 2028. MoneyWise research analyst Nick Rizzo warned that if current trends continue, Americans in nearly every occupation and industry will face a significant reduction in purchasing power due to inflation, rising living costs, and soaring housing prices.

Jobs facing the biggest decline in purchasing power

MoneyWise identified the top five occupations likely to experience the greatest decline in adjusted salaries by 2028:

1. Elementary School Teachers

   - 2023 median salary: $64,290

   - 5-year salary change adjusted for inflation: -11.59%

   - 2028 projected salary: $56,504

2. Accountants

   - 2023 median salary: $79,880

   - 5-year salary change adjusted for inflation: -10.51%

   - 2028 projected salary: $71,485

3. Administrative Assistants

   - 2023 median salary: $46,010

   - 5-year salary change adjusted for inflation: -8.47%

   - 2028 projected salary: $42,113

4. Registered Nurses

   - 2023 median salary: $86,070

   - 5-year salary change adjusted for inflation: -7.82%

   - 2028 projected salary: $79,339

5. General Maintenance Workers

   - 2023 median salary: $46,700

   - 5-year salary change adjusted for inflation: -7.55%

   - 2028 projected salary: $43,174

 Jobs faring better against inflation

Conversely, the occupations expected to retain most of their purchasing power or even see slight increases include:

1. Waitresses and Waiters

   - 2023 median salary: $31,940

   - 5-year salary change adjusted for inflation: +1.73%

   - 2028 projected salary: $32,493

2. Food Preparation Workers

   - 2023 median salary: $32,420

   - 5-year salary change adjusted for inflation: -0.36%

   - 2028 projected salary: $32,303

3. Retail Sales Workers

   - 2023 median salary: $33,900

   - 5-year salary change adjusted for inflation: -1.25%

   - 2028 projected salary: $33,476

4. Cashiers

   - 2023 median salary: $29,720

   - 5-year salary change adjusted for inflation: -1.48%

   - 2028 projected salary: $29,280

5. Customer Sales Representatives

   - 2023 median salary: $39,680

   - 5-year salary change adjusted for inflation: -3.23%

   - 2028 projected salary: $38,398

Despite a decrease in inflation over the past year, the economic outlook remains challenging. According to Nick Rizzo, even if the economy improves, various factors such as rising house prices, ongoing conflicts, stagnant salaries, and potential job losses due to artificial intelligence (AI) could prevent Americans from regaining their previous financial stability. Rizzo say, “….the deck seems stacked against the vast majority of Americans to ever get back to where they were anytime soon.”

Rizzo also highlighted the rapid integration of AI into businesses, whether to assist employees or replace them, adds another layer of uncertainty to the future of many occupations and industries.

“And for some occupations and industries, it's possible they never do, considering the breakneck speed of development and evolution of AI continuing to be integrated directly into businesses, whether that's to assist employees or replace them,” Rizzo said.

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