Working But Still Poor? You’re Not Alone

New Jobs Don’t Pay Enough for Even Full-Time Workers to Make Ends Meet
SEATTLE - Jan. 27, 2015 - PRLog -- Contact: Rosalind Brazel, Communications Director, (206) 465-5799

Working But Still Poor? You’re Not Alone.
New Jobs Don’t Pay Enough for Even Full-Time Workers to Make Ends Meet

SEATTLE While Washington has seen jobs added to our economy since the recession, the bad news is that nearly half of those new job openings don’t pay enough for full-time workers to cover their basic living expenses.

Today, Washington CAN! is releasing “Low Wage Nation (,” a national study showing that, contrary to rosy job growth reports, the projected new job openings are in occupations that pay poverty wages. Jobs that do pay a living wage or better are scarce.

“Working a full-time job should allow workers to cover their basic living expenses, and that’s not happening,” said Washington CAN! Executive Director Will Pittz.  “We are saddened by this sobering picture of just how hard it is to find a living wage job in our state. People who are working are still struggling just to survive.”

“Low Wage Nation” is part of The Job Gap Economic Prosperity Series produced by the Alliance for a Just Society.

State legislators have the chance to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour this session. While that’s not a living wage, it is a step in the right direction for workers and families.

A living wage is the hourly pay a worker must earn to cover basic expenses, with a little to put away for an emergency.

In Washington, 41 percent of job openings pay less than $15.99 an hour, the living wage for a single adult working full-time. Nearly 77 percent pay less than the wage needed for a single adult with two children to make ends meet.

For each job opening that pays less than a living wage, there are six job-seekers on average. For a single adult with two children, there are 14 job-seekers for every job opening that pays enough to keep their family afloat.

“I am raising two babies on $12.15 an hour,” said Kent resident Cornell Brantley. “It’s very hard. But when you have kids you will do just about anything you can to make sure they have food. I’ve worked two jobs and not gotten any sleep.”

Following the historic battle to raise the minimum wage to $15 in Seattle, raising the statewide minimum wage right now is more important than ever. State lawmakers need to recognize this as a priority and give workers a better chance to cover basic needs and contribute to our economy.

“‘Low Wage Nation’ clearly illustrates a crisis in our country. Half of the new job openings nationwide pay wages that keep full-time workers trapped in poverty,” said Executive Director of the Alliance for a Just Society LeeAnn Hall. “A full-time job should lead to financial stability, not poverty.”

With over 44,000 members, Washington Community Action Network is the state’s largest grassroots community organization. Together we work to achieve racial, social, and economic justice in our state and nation. Our strength as an organization depends on our members’ involvement. We believe that we can only achieve our goals when people take action for justice.

 Alliance for a Just Society is a national policy, research and organizing network with 15 state affiliates that focuses on health, racial and economic justice. The Alliance has produced Job Gap studies since 1999.

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Tags:Minimum Wage, Economic justice, Living Wage, Job Gap
Location:Seattle - Washington - United States
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