Despite lower-income workers showing the largest job gains during the economic recovery, the majority of those earning less than $35,000 a year reported a negative outlook about their finances and career prospects, according to a two-part Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey of workers and employers.
"Lower-income households have been hit very hard and have not benefited as much from the recovery," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "Their real wages are going nowhere. And this is a group that has more debt, fewer assets, is less likely to own a home or stocks and with little capacity to absorb higher gasoline prices."
The survey also highlights key differences in perspectives on the job market between low-wage employees and employers. For example, though 72 percent of large companies and 58 percent of small ones reported offering opportunities for career advancement, 67 percent of low-wage earners said they saw little or no advancement potential in their careers.
The survey also indicated that many low wage Americans felt they were worse off in the recovery then they were during the recession.
Woes for low wage workers may worsen before improving. According to Bloomberg, the enacting of the individual mandate portion of Obamacare could stretch low-income budgets even more if people are required to pay for insurance or face a penalty fine. Lower-wage workers also face greater difficulties from transportation and utility costs that have been on the rise.