Middle-Class Workers Looking to Bail

July 25, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A growing number of middle-class Americans are unhappy in their work and looking to make a change, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index.

Recent findings of the monthly survey reveal that 24% of consumers are dissatisfied with their current job, up from 21% last year and 11% in 2009. This groundswell of unhappiness is also reflected in the rising number of people looking for new employment. Two out of five workers (39%) report that they are job hunting, up from 29% a year ago.  

Sixty percent of survey respondents say they have experienced at least one change in their employment situation due to the economy, up from 56% last year.   

The top three changes involve pay: 

  • Elimination of bonuses (20%); 
  • Elimination of overtime (14%); and 
  • Decrease in pay (14%). 


At the same time, according to a press release, middle-class employees say they are doing more to earn their pay. Fifty-six percent of respondents report that that have made at least one change in their behavior at work as a result of the economy, up from 47% last year.   

Changes cited include: 

  • Working extra hours (19%); 
  • Trying to keep busy with work (17%); 
  • Finding ways to trim costs or develop better operational procedures (15%); and 
  • Learning new skills (15%). 


The Index found middle-class workers are surprisingly optimistic about their job prospects. Despite a relatively high unemployment rate, about one-third of consumers who are currently employed but looking for a new position believe there are significant opportunities in today’s market. And 17% of employed job seekers believe significant opportunities will emerge over the next 12 months.  

The First Command Financial Behaviors Index tumbled six points during the second quarter, reflecting a steady erosion in the financial intentions and attitudes of middle-class Americans (see Average Amount Put Away for Retirement Declines).