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If you think your paycheck just isn’t enough, you are not alone. And many Americans are looking to outside sources for additional revenue. In fact, salaries from work has become a smaller share of personal income.

“Since 1980, direct labor income has become a smaller share of personal income, while income from transfers has risen,” according to Wells Fargo economists John Silvia and Sarah Watt House. “This mix may help to stabilize consumption but also reflects altered incentives to work.”

While employment income is still the primary source of income for most, that share has dropped from 59 percent of personal income in 1980 to just 51 percent currently, reports Business Insider.

Silvia and House say there are three reasons why this is so:

–Baby boomers are getting older and people are living longer. “[A] growing share of the population is drawing social security and Medicare, which is reflected in the rising share of income derived from transfers. In addition, with a larger population of retirees, more Americans are likely cashing in on retirement savings and obtaining income on assets, although the low-interest rate environment since the financial crisis has diminished the return on those assets.

–More people are becoming eligible for and use social insurance programs, also called “transfer payments.” They include disability insurance and food stamps. “Although having fallen from a recent peak of 19+ percent in the aftermath of the Great Recession, the share of income derived from transfers has steadily risen over the past two decades.

–There has also been an increase in rental income. “[R]ental income has risen noticeably since 2000, as more households look to allocate capital to rental property to supplement labor income.”

Add to this an unfavorable labor market, and you have people depending on other sources for money.

“We suspect this is a product of both demand and supply forces,” they write. “On the demand side, firms have been cautious to hire given the modest and uncertain gains in final demand,” says Silvia and House. “In addition, as global markets continue to expand, firms are increasing their hiring abroad to serve markets there. On the supply side, the availability of transfer payments and mandated benefits have increased the reservation wage for many workers and lowered the cost of additional leisure. Moreover, an excess supply of labor relative to demand has kept wage growth muted. restraining labor income even as hiring has improved.”

What are you doing to make a little more money?

 

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