A new survey by CareerBuilder shows fewer U.S. workers are dependent on their next paycheck to make ends meet.
Thirty-six percent of workers reported they always or usually live paycheck to paycheck. This is an improvement from 40 percent in 2012 and a peak of 46 percent in 2008 during the Great Recession.
Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, says 36 percent is still a high number, but she believes it will continue to improve.
“As the economy gets stronger the number will go down,” Haefner says.
The data was mixed regarding savings and retirement.
The report shows 25 percent of workers do not set any funds aside for savings each month. This is a slight improvement from 27 percent in 2012. In terms of retirement saving, 65 percent of workers participate in a 401(k), IRA or comparable plan, down from 67 percent last year.
“We expect to see more of the 25 percent that are not saving will start to put a little [money] aside if that confidence in their jobs continues to grow,” Haefner says.
The CareerBuilder survey did not identify respondents by race.
Overall, Americans are starting to recover from the Great Recession and it is possible many people do not feel the sting of living paycheck, says Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, author of “Zero Debt.”
However, she cautions the Middle Class and low to moderate income households have been squeezed including a broad swath of African-Americans.
Khalfani-Cox says she does not get the sense fewer African-Americans are living paycheck to paycheck based on questions posted to her website, AskTheMoneyCoach.com.
“I can’t believe for a moment that they don’t feel cash strapped and living paycheck to paycheck.”
She warns we are becoming more of an hour glass economy. Those at the top, the upper Middle Class or above, felt the recovery sooner. The true Middle Class are seeing rising costs for food and healthcare, but wages are stagnant.
Debt levels continue to rise and student loan burdens are still part of the mix.
A lot of African-Americans see homeownership and a college degree as integral parts of the American dream. “The problem is you typically have to finance them,” Khalfani-Cox explains.
“It will take a while for the economic recovery to trickle down to average folks,” she says.
Shartia Brantley is a producer and on-air reporter at CNBC. Follow Shartia on Twitter at @shartiabrantley