Low-Wage Working Families Feeling Brunt of Recession

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December 21, 2010; Source: Washington Post | It’s perhaps a bit ironic that the nonprofit Working Families Project has just released a report that will hardly be news to many social service nonprofits. In a new study of the economic impact of the recession, Working Families Project reports that the number of families struggling to survive is on the rise.

According to the Washington Post, the report’s overall findings show that between 2008 and 2009, the number of people living in low-income working families increased by 1.7 million. “Clearly, we are going in the wrong direction,” said Brandon Roberts, who co-authored the report. “We are not making sufficient investments to help working families get ahead.”

Among those hardest hit by the recession are males who work in the construction, manufacturing, and financial sectors. The report also found that between 2007 and 2009 working women whose husbands lost their jobs more than doubled to 5.4 percent. In addition, the least educated workers are really struggling—a trend spotted even before the economic downturn. High school dropouts without jobs climbed to a high of 15 percent during the dip, compared to some 4 percent unemployed workers with at least a bachelor’s degree.

Observers worry that with a much more conservative Congress about to take power in Washington, and increasing calls to slash spending, the likelihood is not good that what the Post describes as programs that “help social mobility” will be sustained. Still, Roberts says he hopes his group’s report “will provide an even more compelling case to get policy makers on the case.”—Bruce Trachtenberg