New Research: One-Third of
Alaska's Jobs are "Bad Jobs"
July 11, 2008
(SitNews) - The federal poverty line does a poor job of measuring
economic insecurity in the United States according to a new report
from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). In the
typical state, 22 percent of people in working families suffer
from economic hardship because their earnings and income from
other sources, including public work supports and other public
benefits, fall below the basic needs budget standard for where
they live. By comparison, only 12.6 percent of Americans live
below the federal poverty line.
The recent study, Working Families
and Economic Insecurity in the States: The Role of Job Quality
and Work Supports, provides information on job quality and the
economic security of working families in the states in the first
half of the current decade. The report also quantifies the important
role that public work supports-benefits for workers such as the
Earned Income Tax Credit and child care assistance-play in helping
workers make ends meet.
To determine how much income
a working family needs to "make ends meet", the authors
of the report, Rebecca Ray, Shawn Fremstad and Hye Jin Rho, use
basic family budgets that take into account the actual costs
of goods and services needed to have a decent standard of living,
as well as the variations in these costs, depending on where
The recent study also shows
that most economically insecure workers have jobs that pay low
wages and provide few or no benefits or "bad Jobs".
Only a minority of jobs nation-wide are "good jobs",
in other words, ones that pay at least $17 an hour and provide
health and retirement benefits.
This study found that in Alaska:
- 27% of jobs are "good
jobs." A good job as one that pays well - at least $17 an
hour, the median wage for men in 1979 (in inflation-adjusted
2006 dollars) - and provides employer-sponsored health and retirement
- 33.3% of the jobs are "bad
jobs." A bad job is one that meets none of the "good
jobs" criteria. Bad jobs pay less than $17 an hour, don't
come with health insurance, and don't offer a retirement plan.
- 16% of the people in working
families are economically insecure because their earnings and
income from other sources, including public work supports and
other public benefits, falls below the basic family budget standard
for where they live.
- The typical (median) monthly
income of economically insecure families in Alaska is $1,804.
- $722 is the "hardship
gap," the difference between a family's income and the basic
budget standard for where they live.
- 67% of the gap between basic
needs and income - the hardship gap - is closed by public work
supports. The public work supports are child care assistance,
the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, Medicaid and the State
Children's Health Insurance Program, housing assistance, and
- 5% of the people (people in
working families) are lifted to or above the basic family budget
threshold by public work supports.
Download the Study: Working
Families and Economic Insecurity in the States: The Role of Job
Quality and Work Supports
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Alaska Center for Public Policy
Alaska's independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank
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