An analysis of low wage workers

Download image The table shows an assessment of the education and training most often needed to be employed in the major occupation groups inas well as projections for The results, similar to those found in The State of Working America with data from — Mishel, Bernstein, and Shierholzsuggest a very marginal shift from the jobs that require the least education and training to those that require the most.

An analysis of low wage workers

Press Coverage Even as the economy has at last begun to expand at a more rapid pace, growth in wages and benefits for most American workers has continued its decades-long stagnation.

Real hourly wages of the median American worker were just 5 percent higher in than they were inwhile the wages of the bottom decile of earners were 5 percent lower in than in Inflation-adjusted wage growth from to was either flat or negative for the entire bottom 70 percent of the wage distribution.

This is the first report to examine the cost to the 50 states of public assistance programs for working families. Our analysis includes only the cash assistance portion of TANF, and it does not include costs for state Earned Income Tax Credits, child care assistance, or other state-funded means-tested programs.

In all, more than half—56 percent—of combined state and federal spending on public assistance goes to working families. DATA We define working families as those that have at least one family member who works 27 or more weeks per year and 10 or more hours per week.

To calculate the cost to the federal and state governments of public assistance programs for working families, we mainly rely on two sources of data: All amounts are adjusted to and reported in dollars. Medicaid figures exclude aged, blind, and disabled enrollees.

Our calculation method is described in the appendix. It is important to note that there have been significant changes in Medicaid enrollment since implementation of the Affordable Care Act ACAbut these change are not reflected in this analysis because the data is not yet available.

Low-Wage Occupations and Public Assistance Rates Reliance on public assistance can be found among workers in a diverse range of occupations. Three of the occupations with particularly high levels of public assistance program utilization that have been recently analyzed are front-line fast food workers, 7 child care providers, 8 and home care workers.

Low-Wage Work | Center for Labor Research and Education

Fully one-quarter of part-time college faculty and their families are enrolled in at least one of the public assistance programs analyzed in this report. TANF, the smallest program, had 2. The SNAP program had There is significant overlap in enrollment in these programs, and we are not able to determine with this data the total number of enrollees in these four programs combined.

Expenditures Aggregated Federal Spending Table 2 page 4 details the expenses at the federal level of the four public assistance programs, and the portions of the program expenditures that went to working families.

Fully four-fifths 81 percent of yearly EITC costs went to working families. This represented over half 52 percent of total state-level funding for the two programs. Here we zero in on the cost to taxpayers of low-wage work in each individual state.

TANF data are not listed due to sample size constraints. Expenditures Federal Spending by State Table 5 page 7 breaks out the data in Table 2, showing the annual federal cost for the four public assistance programs by state.

Note that the numbers in Table 2 are presented in billions of dollars, while the numbers in Table 5 are presented in millions of dollars. Here we see the cost of low-wage work borne by each individual state. States with the highest percentage of their public assistance funds going to working families—in each instance over 60 percent—were New Hampshire, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Iowa.

Child Care Subsidies and Working Families This report does not include all of the public assistance programs supported by federal and state dollars, because the data available on these other programs does not allow for the type of analysis we utilized.

The largest programs not examined are those that provide funding for child care subsidies to low-income families. Intotal child care funding included: A Urban Institute study found that at least 83 percent of families receiving child care subsidies have a member of the family that works.

According to a U. Department of Health and Human Service analysis of data,13 among children eligible under federal rules only 17 percent received subsidized care, and among children eligible under state rules just 29 percent received subsidized care.

Increasing wages would allow for a broader distribution of the available funding across families in need of assistance. These programs provide vital support to millions of working families whose employers pay less than a liveable wage.

Higher wages and increases in employer-provided health insurance would result in significant Medicaid savings that states and the federal government could apply to other programs and priorities.

Methods To calculate the cost to state governments of public assistance programs for working families defined as having at least one family member who works 27 or more weeks per year and 10 or more hours per weekwe mainly rely on two sources of data: The March Supplement, also known as the Annual Demographic Supplement, asks respondents about receipts of cash and non-cash transfer payments during the past year and includes questions about the programs we examined in this analysis.

We then apply those shares to the state-by-state individual enrollment and program cost totals provided in the administrative data to obtain the number of enrollees and total expenditure on enrollees from working families.

We then sum the number of enrolled families defined as having at least one family member participating in a program and the cost of their benefits to obtain the total program enrollment and cost.

We then repeat this process using only working families defined as above to obtain our total enrollment and cost for working families. For further detail see the earlier report Fast Food, Poverty Wages: Fast Food, Poverty Wages: Margot Sanger-Katz August 11, National Employment Law Project February The increased earnings for low-wage workers resulting from the higher minimum wage would total $9 billion; 22 percent of that sum would accrue to families with income below the poverty threshold, whereas 33 percent would accrue to families earning more than three times the poverty threshold, CBO estimates.

Rates of economic hardship differ among the three categories of workers.

The future of work: Trends and challenges for low-wage workers | Economic Policy Institute

All individuals included in the cross-sectional analysis are considered low-wage workers by some definition, but not all of them are in a household experiencing “official” poverty (i.e., poverty as defined by the official federal formula).

Our analysis of the transitions of low-wage workers differs from many studies of occupational mobility in that we focus on people at the bottom of the labor market, but we use many of the same characteristics (e.g., age, education, gender) to explain the transitions that occur.

In , only percent of low-wage workers lived in households with a family income greater than $50,, indicating that low-wage workers are not predominately teenagers living with their parents or adults with low-paying jobs living with a higher-earning spouse.

In , million workers age 16 and older in the United States were paid at hourly rates, representing percent of all wage and salary workers.

An analysis of low wage workers

Among those paid by the hour, , workers earned exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $ per hour. About million had wages below the federal minimum. Here we see the cost of low-wage work borne by each individual state.

The states with the highest budgetary cost of low-wage work (over $1 billion) were California ($3, million), New York ($3, million), Texas ($2, million), .

The High Public Cost of Low Wages | Center for Labor Research and Education