Humbug: Despite inflation, 54% haven’t received a pay raise in over a year

LEHI, Utah — The holidays are here, but Americans workers can’t afford to take their foot off the gas. According to a new survey, two in three are actually working more — picking up a side gig to earn more money during the holiday season.

The poll of over 1,000 U.S. adults, commissioned by Neighbor.com, found the biggest reason behind this may be the fact that fewer workers have received a pay raise recently. In fact, only 46 percent have received any kind of raise in the last year. Another 11 percent say their last bump in salary came almost two years ago.

Unfortunately, for those who received a raise in 2022, their salary still isn’t keeping up with record-setting inflation. On average, wages and salaries have increased by 5.1 percent this year, while inflation is sitting around eight percent nationwide. Simply put, even those who are earning more money are feeling the strain of inflation during the holidays.

Cutting back is making the holidays less merry

To make it through the holiday season, 42 percent of Americans who plan to cut their holiday spending are buying fewer presents for their loved ones. Another 31 percent will be traveling less. One in three are buying fewer holiday decorations, more than one in four are hosting fewer holiday parties, and one in five are donating less to charity.

Overall, 78 percent of Americans say they’re cutting back on spending this holiday season in some way.

For some, however, that may not be an option. Compared to 2021, the poll finds 13 percent are preparing to spend an extra $1,000 or more in order to cover the rising prices of travel, gifts, and other holiday expenses. Another 11 percent think they’ll end up spending an extra $500 to $1,000 this year and 24 percent are trying to keep their extra spending under $500.

Neighbor Holiday Cuts

‘Tis the season of side gigs

If you see someone you think you work with working another job, there’s a good chance you’re right. Overall, 68 percent plan to get or already have a side gig so they can earn some extra cash during the holidays.

Of these Americans, a staggering 82 percent say inflation forced them to find extra work to make ends meet. These jobs include side gigs, seasonal jobs, or volunteering to work overtime at their current place of employment. Interestingly, 92 percent plan to keep these jobs, even after the holiday season comes to a close.

Many of these hard-working Americans are picking up shifts in the service industry. Three in 10 (31%) picking up extra work are turning to DoorDash. One in four are working for Uber and another 17 percent are delivering food for Uber Eats.

As for how much these gigs are helping Americans with their bills, 60 percent are bringing in up to $500 a month. However, half of these workers are making less than $250 monthly. Just 13 percent are earning more than $1,000 a month from their holiday side gig.

Researchers say even small earnings are helpful in fighting off inflation. The survey finds inflation tacks on an extra $341 in expenses to U.S. households every month.

Survey methodology

Using Pollfish.com, the team at Neighbor surveyed 1,003 American adults on Oct. 30, 2022. Respondents had to be 18 years or older to participate. Survey respondents were all based in the U.S. and were 44% male and 56% female.

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