Job Juggle: The Struggle of Low-Income Americans

People Lining-up for Job InterviewA few years ago, many Americans struggled to find a job, on account of the economic recession. Now, most of them find themselves juggling two to three jobs. While it may look like an improvement, is it really? The fact that some Americans still have to maintain multiple jobs just to live comfortably is a sign of the growing income gap in the country.

Living from Paycheck to Paycheck

Americans with average and low household incomes are often the ones motivated to have multiple jobs, in order to make ends meet. They typically live from paycheck to paycheck, and most of them struggle to settle their student loans, credit card debts, and other financial obligations. So, you can’t blame them if they look for two to three jobs to boost their income. Even those who have full-time jobs still strive to get at least one extra gig to earn enough resources for their household.

The Rise of the Gig Economy

In recent years, many employers have been hiring part-time workers for short projects, in order to cut costs. Other employers refrain from hiring full-time workers to avoid costly employee benefits, such as healthcare coverage and pension. On the other hand, the same employers raise the salaries for the part-time positions they offer, so as to quickly attract workers, especially during the holiday season.

Despite the lack of job security and worker’s benefits, many Americans are drawn to these part-time gigs. As a matter of fact, the number of part-time workers in the country has hit a record high of 20.7 million in the last quarter of 2016, according to government data published in USA Today.

Businessman Showing His Empty PocketLow Income, Poor Credit Scores

While some employers increase the compensation of part-time workers, it doesn’t change the fact that a good chunk of the workforce still needs multiple jobs to survive or to keep up their lifestyles. What’s worse is that the salary they earn from all those jobs isn’t even enough for them to move up the income ladder. They still have a small income and a poor credit score and don’t even have many options to obtain cash in case of an emergency.

Given this situation, it’s a good thing that there are short-term, payday loans that can help, in dire times, according to Still, the whole scenario shows that income inequality is apparent and proliferating, especially in this gig economy where employers are the real winners.

Income Gap Keeps Growing

CNN revealed that the bottom half of the American working population only earns an average of $16,000 per year — and that hasn’t changed in over three decades. On the other hand, the top one percent of the country earned an average of 27 times more than the bottom 50% in 1980, while they make 81 times more today. With these alarming numbers, it is no surprise that the low-income Americans are relying on more than one job to live comfortably in the US.

Wages for low-income earners aren’t exactly moving, in spite of the raised salaries for part-time positions. Whether the gig economy will further widen or bridge the income gap in the next few years is up to the employers, as well as to the workers who continuously succumb to the idea of job juggling.