In a finding that may speak to some of the issues roiling this year’s presidential primary season, PwC reported Tuesday that key indicators of employee financial wellness have slid downward for the first time this decade.
Fifty-two percent of employed adults in a new survey told researchers they were stressed about their finances, and 45% said their stress had gone up over the past 12 months.
Sixty-four percent of millennials reported increased stress levels, compared with 56% of their Gen X counterparts and 40% of baby boomers. For all groups, these levels were higher than in 2015, and for millennials they were 12 percentage points higher.
“A combination of factors are adding to stress levels,” Kent Allison, head of PwC’s employee financial education and wellness practice, said in a statement.
Allison noted that salaries were barely keeping pace with the rise in cost of living, despite lower energy prices, causing an additional strain on employee budgets that were already stretched thin.
“The housing market has only moderately improved and in many places home values still remain far below prerecession prices despite interest rates being at historic lows,” he said. “Couple that with the recent volatility in the stock market, and it is no wonder employee confidence is waning.”
This year’s poll incorporated the views of 1,600 full-time employed adults representative of the U.S. population by age and gender.
Haunted by Student Loans
Millennials have become the biggest component of the U.S. labor force; they are also in worse shape than their older counterparts when it comes to their personal finances, the survey found. Forty-six percent reported difficulty in meeting monthly expenses on time, up from 35% last year.