New Report Shows Number Of Working Poor Households On Rise In Louisiana
The United Way ALICE report shows in 2016, 48% of all households in the state did not make enough money to pay basic needs, up 6% from 2014. Louisiana United Way President Sarah Berthelot says 29% earn above the poverty level, but it's still not enough.
“They are unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, childcare healthcare, transportation, and basic technology such as a smartphone."
Those “survival budget” minimum expenses only allow for 5.50 a day in food expenses, and 517 a month in rent. The minimum generally increases in urban areas.
The report shows a single adult needs to make 19,548 dollars a year to pay the bills, and the average family needs 54,000. Lead researcher Stephanie Hoopes says with 66 percent of all jobs paying under 20 dollars an hour, it’s clear in this economy the recent economic growth isn’t benefiting most workers.
“Despite good economic news that we are hearing, especially low unemployment, we are finding that wages are not keeping pace with the rising cost of basic household necessities."
Those requirements break down to a full time, single worker needing $9.77 an hour, and two working parents combining for $27 an hour.
The report warns that pervasively low wages put nearly half of workers one financial surprise away from disaster. 400,000 Louisiana jobs pay below 10 dollars an hour, and Louisiana Budget Project Director Jan Moller says it’s clear nearly half of workers work too hard to be stuck in such a precarious position.
“They work hard but they just don’t make enough money to make ends each month.”
The Parishes with the highest percentage of ALICE households are clustered in the 5th Congressional District, specifically the Delta Parishes. East Carrol leads the state at 75%.