Worries about being laid off, having hours cut jump: Gallup

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More than a quarter of U.S. workers now worry about layoffs and having their hours cut, up more than 10 percentage points from last year, according to new polling from Gallup.

Twenty-seven percent of workers surveyed said they are now concerned about being laid off from their jobs, compared to 15 percent last year. The same percentage is concerned about their hours being cut, up from 15 percent in 2019. Twenty-eight percent of workers also worry their wages will be cut, compared to 16 percent last year.

Although the percentage of workers polled who are concerned their benefits will be cut is also up, the increase is smaller, from 23 percent to 30 percent. Almost half of workers in the survey — 46 percent — are worried about at least one of the four scenarios.

The 27 percent of surveyed workers concerned about layoffs is the highest since 2013, the end of the Great Recession, when the level reached 29 percent. Thirty-one percent of workers polled said they were worried about their wages being cut at the same time.

The findings come as the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 10.2 percent in July, down from 14.7 percent in April but significantly up from 3.7 percent before the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Like many other aspects of the pandemic, employment worries have disproportionately affected workers of color. Forty-three percent of nonwhite workers in the poll are concerned about wage cuts, compared to 20 percent of white workers. Forty-one percent of nonwhite workers are also concerned about layoffs versus 20 percent of white workers. The poll found a 19-point gap on concerns about benefit reductions and a 14-point gap on concerns about cuts to hours.

Pollsters found no gender gap on these concerns, except in the area of reductions to hours, where 32 percent of male workers surveyed said they are worried compared to 27 percent of female workers.

Gallup surveyed a random sample of 529 adults between July 30-Aug. 12. It has a 5-percentage-point margin of error.

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