September 29, 2008

Middle-Class Job Worries

25%

One-in-four middle-class workers worry that one or more negative events might affect their job status in the coming year.

In a Pew survey, one-in-four middle-class workers said it was at least somewhat likely that at least one of a number of negative events might cause them to lose their job in the coming year. Some 12% said it was at least somewhat likely that their company would relocate; 10% said the same about their job being outsourced; and 14% said the same about being laid off. Combining these responses into a “job loss” worries indicator, 25% of middle class workers said they thought at least one of these negative events might happen to them. Two other survey questions focused on cuts in pay or benefits. Some 20% of middle class workers said it was at least somewhat likely that their health benefits would be either reduced or eliminated in the coming year, while 12% thought that they might have to face a cut in pay. Combining these two responses into a “cutback” worries indicator, 26% of workers thought that at least one of the events might happen to them. Looking at the two sets of worries together, just 9% of middle class workers worry about both of these issues. However, 25% think that at least one of these five negative events could occur to them in the next 12 months. In terms of class identification, lower class workers are far more likely to worry about job loss (35%) than either middle class (25%) or upper class workers (just 12%). Concerns about wage and benefit cutbacks are more pervasive throughout the class structure — 32% among lower class workers, 26% among those in the middle class, and 22% among those in the upper class. Read More