With more than 4.5 million Americans unemployed, the unemployment rate has hit a five-year high of 7.9 percent, and some jobs that pay well have become increasingly difficult to find.
In other words, many Americans are having to choose between earning enough to support themselves and their families and finding a way to pay for the things they need to keep a roof over their heads.
A lot of Americans are starting to think about how much money they can afford to save and what they need for their retirement, said Jessica Shafran, director of research at the National Women’s Law Center.
“We are seeing an increase in the desire for some families to save for retirement, to take care of the essentials, and to look at whether there is an economic opportunity to be able to retire later and make some extra money,” she said.
“That is an opportunity that many people have, especially young people.”
Shafran said many Americans have the same problem.
“The big thing that many young people, especially millennials, are thinking about is, what is the path that I can take to make some additional money to put toward retirement, whether it’s a loan, a job, or a house,” she added.
“And many of them are finding that they are getting stuck with more debt than they have money to spend.”
The Federal Reserve’s latest jobless rate estimates put the jobless tally at more than 3 million Americans, up from about 2.8 million last month.
A recent report from the National Association of Manufacturers said that more than one-third of manufacturing jobs lost during the recession have returned to jobs that previously were part-time.
“It’s not a job market that is fully recovered, but it is starting to recover,” said Dan Moseley, chief economist at the Institute for Supply Management, which studies labor markets.
“There are still people out there that are struggling to find full-time work, but the jobs are getting back to where they were before the recession.”
While the economy has been slowly improving in recent years, joblessness rates remain high.
And while there is plenty of slack in the economy, the lack of work creates the potential for people to find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of debt.
For the average American, paying off a credit card, paying bills, or paying rent can mean that the cost of living increases, which can make it harder for the family to get by.
Shafer said people should think about the future, and make sure that they can live off of their own money.
“I don’t think we should be putting the onus on the consumer to think that there is a whole bunch of debt that they have to take on,” he said.
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