We’ve all seen the reports covering the “lowest unemployment rate in years”. What we’re also seeing is the increase in jobs that don’t offer a living wage, as well as a decrease in opportunities that offer benefits or desirable schedules.
According to NPR writer Emily Sullivan, over 30% of American’s have to work a second job in addition to their full-time position to afford basic needs like housing and food. This type of lifestyle comes with a high cost, as it decreases family and personal time while increasing stress.
While a low unemployment rate is great, and ultimately, at StepUp Wilmington, our goal is to get people into work, we have to acknowledge the growing epidemic that is under-employment. We don’t only need more jobs, we need better jobs that set people up for success and break the vicious cycle of poverty.
In looking at the big picture when it comes to the unemployment rate, Forbes writer Erik Sherman shares, “Insisting that companies pay reasonable amounts — rather than expecting workers to accept low wages and then get government assistance if necessary — is fundamental to a functional society.”
Individuals deserve access to employment that offers opportunities for growth and stability. That’s why at StepUp Wilmington, we strive to partner with local employers that offer a living wage based on the minimum standards of living in a community. According to MIT’s Living Wage Calculator, in New Hanover County, the living wage is $12.32/hour or $25,625 annually for a single adult and $25.77/hour or $53,601 annually for a family of four.
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