Before any Northwest politician makes pronouncements in this campaign year - and most of them, of both parties, will - about how wonderful their state's economy is, they had better first read and take into account the new report Searching for Work that Pays: 2005 Job Gap Study.
If they have any real interest in how real people in their states really live - not just an unfortunate sliver of people either, but most of them - this study by the Northwest Federation of Community Organizations should have a strong sobering effect.
Consider this key finding and then ask how much our "booming economy" is doing for actual Northwesterners: "Of all Northwest job openings, 34% pay less than a living wage for a single adult and 79% pay less than a living wage for a single adult with two children, as shown in the chart below. It is important to note the distinction between jobs and job openings. Not all jobs come open during the course of a year, but some jobs may open repeatedly during a year due to turnover or seasonality of the work. Job openings are of particular interest because they provide employment opportunities for people looking for work."
The days of all boats experiencing a lift clearly are over. And yet the problem, and solutions, have to do with more than job pay in itself. (more…)