More U.S. workers say they worry about having their benefits reduced (30%) than worry about having their wages cut (20%), being laid off (19%), having their hours cut back (17%), or their company moving their jobs overseas (8%). Benefits cuts consistently have been the top worry since Gallup first asked the question in 1997. U.S. workers’ worries about these possibilities generally have eased since 2014 after rising sharply following the financial crisis and staying elevated during the ensuing period of high unemployment.
The data are based on Gallup’s annual Work and Education poll, conducted each August. U.S. workers’ concern about having their benefits cut spiked to 46% in 2009 and did not show sustained recovery until falling to 34% in 2014. The 30% who worry about benefits reductions today is essentially back to where it was before the September 2008 financial crisis.
Workers’ concerns about having their wages cut or their hours reduced remain at least slightly higher than they were at any point before the 2007-2009 recession. While the 19% worried about being laid off is also higher than just before the financial crisis (15%), it is similar to what Gallup measured in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Relatively few American workers worry about their company moving jobs overseas — the one concern that did not dramatically increase after the financial crisis.