September 1, 2009 / 6:07 PM / 10 years ago

Survey: More young workers unable to pay bills

NEW YORK (Reuters) - One in four young U.S. workers does not earn enough money to pay their bills, more than twice as many as a decade ago, said a survey released on Tuesday.

A person fills out an application for a summer job funded by stimulus money in Forth Worth, Texas June 10, 2009. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

Fewer than a third of young workers earn enough to pay their bills and save some money as well, while 10 years ago that number was more than half, according to the research released by the AFL-CIO, a federation of labor unions.

The nationwide telephone survey polled 602 workers ages 18 to 34 in July 2009 and compared the results to a similar survey 10 years ago, the AFL-CIO said. The young workers polled were part of an overall survey in July of 1,156 people.

Of the young workers, 24 percent said they do not earn enough to pay their monthly bills, compared with 10 percent in 1999, it said.

Another 31 percent say they can pay their bills and save a bit, down from 53 percent in 1999, it said.

The survey found 55 percent of young workers are hopeful and confident about achieving their financial goals in the next five years, down from 77 percent who felt that way a decade ago. Another 41 percent said they were worried and concerned, more than twice the 20 percent who felt that way in 1999.

A third of young workers do not have health insurance, compared with a quarter who were uninsured a decade ago.

It found that currently 45 percent of young employees work more than 40 hours a week, a third do not get paid vacation days and 40 percent do not get paid sick days.

A third still live with their parents, it said.

The overall poll results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, said Hart Research Associates which conducted the poll for the AFL-CIO.

Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Michelle Nichols and Bill Trott

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