As rising prices continue to weigh on households, more families are feeling stretched too thin.
As of November, 63% of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck, according to a monthly LendingClub report — up from 60% the previous month and near the 64% historic high hit in March.
Even high-income earners are under pressure, LendingClub found. Of those earning more than six figures, 47% reported living paycheck to paycheck, a jump from the previous month’s 43%.
“Americans are cash-strapped and their everyday spending continues to outpace their income, which is impacting their ability to save and plan,” said Anuj Nayar, LendingClub’s financial health officer.
Although consumer prices rose less than expected in November, persistent inflation has caused real wages to decline.
Real average hourly earnings are down 1.9% from a year earlier, according to the latest reading from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This leaves many Americans in a bind as inflation and higher prices force more people to dip into their cash reserves or lean on credit just when interest rates rise at the fastest pace in decades.
Already, credit card balances are surging, up 15% in the most recent quarter, the largest annual jump in more than 20 years.
At the same time, credit card rates are now more than 19%, on average — an all-time high — and still rising.