More than half (58 per cent) of U.S. employees say they’re significantly worried about one or more aspects of their personal finances, including saving for retirement and building emergency savings, according to a new survey by John Hancock Financial.

In addition, with the market declines across asset classes in 2022, 70 per cent of survey respondents said they’re worried about the economy. The most frequently cited issues were concerns about the impact of inflation on the cost of living (58 per cent), economic conditions in general (47 per cent) and rising interest rates (38 per cent).

Financial worries were coupled with a noteworthy decline in employees’ financial situations to below pre-pandemic levels. Employees are now more than twice as likely to describe their personal finances as fair or poor (42 per cent) as they are to call them good or excellent (20 per cent).

Read: Survey finds half of U.S. workers want an employer-sponsored retirement plan that offers emergency savings features

“Coming out of the pandemic, we were hopeful to see continued improvements in financial well-being, but our results showed how quickly an uncertain economy can take those gains away,” said Aimee DeCamillo, head of global retirement at Manulife Investment Management, John Hancock’s parent company, in a press release.

The survey also found the majority (71 per cent) of respondents said they’ll be focusing on growing, maintaining or investing their savings in the coming months, with paying off debt (44 per cent) and planning for retirement (45 per cent) cited as short-term goals.

Eight in 10 (80 per cent) of employees said they’re unlikely to work for a company that doesn’t offer a retirement plan. However, 31 per cent have a formal retirement plan and only 33 per cent have met with a financial advisor in the past year.

Overall, the survey saw a positive shift in mental health, with 65 per cent of respondents describing their mental health as good compared with 53 per cent last year. Despite this improvement, 70 per cent said the challenging economic backdrop has had some impact on their mental well-being, with 16 per cent saying it’s had a major impact.

Read: 71% of Canadian employees say mental health impacted their ability to work in the past year: survey

Looking closer at generational divides, three-quarters (76 per cent) of baby boomers said their mental health is good/very good compared with fewer than half (46 per cent) of millennials who said the same. In addition, millennials were more likely than boomers to have experienced stress (89 per cent compared to 67 per cent), depression (50 per cent compared to 28 per cent) and loneliness (49 per cent compared to 25 per cent) in the past year.

The survey also found employees’ mental-health issues are showing up on the job, with 43 per cent of respondents reporting their mental health has interfered with their ability to work in the past year. That percentage was up to 72 per cent among millennials. Also among millennials, 44 per cent said they worry about their personal finances often while at work, with 54 per cent said they’d be more productive if they were less worried.

“The levels of stress and worry in the report are troubling, particularly among millennials, especially given the uncertain economic times we are experiencing,” said Wayne Park, chief executive officer of John Hancock, in the release. “The good news is that it is clear that supporting employees through financial wellness programs and working to get them engaged in their personal finance benefits is likely to help boost overall employee satisfaction, retention and productivity.”

Indeed, 82 per cent of survey respondents said financial wellness programs reduce their financial stress, followed by making them more likely to stay with their employer (78 per cent) and making them more productive (70 per cent).

However, only 30 per cent of respondents said their employer offers a financial wellness program, while 41 per cent are unsure.

Read: U.S. retirement plan sponsors calling on record keepers to support members’ financial wellness: survey