Expect paychecks to be 2 percent smaller

January 5, 2013 

The first payday of 2013 for most Americans won't be as small as it could have been, but as those paydays come in the week ahead, make no mistake, paychecks will be smaller. Every working American will see their take-home pay cut by 2 percent.

While Congress approved a deal not to raise income tax rates on Americans making under $400,000 (for couples $450,000), the agreement did not extend the employee payroll tax cut that has been law for the last two years. Instead, every worker will see the part of their paychecks going toward Social Security return to the same percentage it was prior to 2011.

A 2 percent increase doesn't sound like a lot. Consider that forecasts for the U.S. economy to grow by 2 percent are greeted by howls of disappointment. However, paying 2 percent more out of the median household income in the United States means just over $1,000 less pay over the course of a year.

For working Americans making around $50,000 and paid every Friday, they will see about $20 less in their checks this week. The missing money won't break the bank for most households but it does starve the economy of billions of dollars in spending.

Tom Hudson, anchor and managing editor of "Nightly Business Report," can be followed on Twitter HudsonNBR.

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