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How American workers are combating inflation

The American workforce has certainly proven itself to be resilient in the face of the multiple economic challenges we’ve been thrown over the last several years.

Just as pandemic-induced unemployment rates begin to dip, inflation rates soar, with the Federal Reserve recently announcing yet another three-quarter point rate hike.

In light of rising grocery, gas, healthcare, and housing prices, Employbridge considered it critical to take a pulse on how American workers are reacting; specifically, how the current state of the economy and inflation has impacted their approach to and relationship with work. 

We surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. professionals from various backgrounds––those currently employed, full-time and part-time, as well as those unemployed but actively seeking work––this past September, and found that the majority of respondents are not taking inflation spikes sitting down. As society once holds a collective breath, American workers are finding new strategies to course-correct and bounce back.

Inflation’s Impact on U.S. Workers 

  • 85% of Americans said that inflation has impacted their recent spending and buying habits 
  • 72% said inflation has impacted the way they view their job and 57% said they have sought out new or additional roles over the past year due to the rising cost of living
  • Half of all respondents said they actively seek out additional work seasonally (e.g. picking up extra shifts around the holidays)  
  • 65% said that they foresee themselves looking for new opportunities in the coming months and into 2023 to continue to combat rising inflation

Employbridge also learned that while workers seek additional income to fill the gaps created by today’s downturned economy, happiness on the job continues to be of paramount importance. 

Relationships + Benefits Matter 

  • 78% said that their employer's interest in their happiness impacted their work (specifically the effort they're willing to put forth)
  • 63% said they would be more willing to leave a job they don’t love than they may have pre-pandemic

Americans said they consider the below criteria to be a bigger priority when considering staying with a job now now vs. pre-pandemic:

  • Wages/Pay - 57%
  • Work/life balance - 56%
  • Benefits - 55%
  • Schedule/flexibility - 51%
  • Enjoying what I do - 47%
  • Prioritizing my mental health - 39%
  • When it comes to accepting a job, more than half of Americans ranked wages and pay to be the most important factors followed by location, schedule (e.g. mornings vs. night shifts / weekends), flexibility (e.g. ability to call out when needed, swap shifts), and opportunities for growth, respectively. 
  • Respondents consider access to medical insurance (34%) to be the most critical in terms of workplace benefits followed by protections and insurance (27%) paid time off (23%), then, employee tax benefits (9%) and overtime eligibility (8%).

To delve deeper into how our own pool of employees are coping with inflation, we caught up with Washington D.C.-based Crew Member, Frank Gomez. 

Employbridge: Have you personally experienced any difficulties keeping up with the cost of living in today’s current economy? 

Frank: Yes, of course. Especially in our area but I do believe that nationally, everyone is experiencing hardships. Employbridge has provided me with the opportunity to navigate my way into gig work to make a few extra dollars a week, and I am so thankful for that. Having the ability to pick up additional shifts and more hours during these tough financial times has helped me sleep at night!

Employbridge: Have you taken on additional work to help compete with the rising cost of food, gas, housing, etc.?

Frank: Yes, I have been applying myself as much as possible to what Employbridge has to offer and picking up jobs across many different sectors. Aside from my shifts at the airport, I’ve also been able to pick up jobs at stadiums for specific events which has helped immensely - and it has also been exciting to see sports players during my shifts! The ability to work across different categories has also built my confidence and exposure, allowing me to gain more qualifications to pick up additional and higher-paying jobs. 

As inflation rates continue to climb and price increases persist, we anticipate American households to keep up the hunt for additional roles, exploring flexible, shift-based, and part-time opportunities to make ends meet. And for U.S. businesses striving to keep reliable workers clocking in: it’s essential to understand what’s most important to today’s worker: fair wages, truly achievable work / life balance, and competitive benefits.

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