May 25, 2018
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New from the Low-Income Working Families Project

Periodic News About Research and Discussions On Helping Families Get Ahead


A New Safety Net for Working Families: Green Jobs and Low-Wage Workers
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
9:00-10:30 a.m. ET

To attend in Washington, D.C., RSVP at,
e-mail, or call (202) 261-5709.

To listen to the audio webcast, register at

The economic stimulus package passed in February provides significant resources for developing environment-friendly "green jobs." It is unclear, though, how green investments will benefit the country’s most vulnerable individuals: low-wage workers with limited skills. Our panel of experts will seek answers to such questions as

  • What are the characteristics of green jobs? Which jobs in this growing sector are relevant to low-skilled workers?
  • What should the federal government’s role be in promoting green development, particularly for low-income families?
  • What should states and localities do to ensure that low-skilled workers benefit from the growth in green jobs?

A New Safety Net for Working Families: Assets for Economic Security

Listen to a discussion of proposals aimed at improving low-income families' opportunities to save and invest. These include tax subsidies that increase their disposable income and policies to help them reduce debt and increase savings.

To further new thinking on protecting vulnerable households and helping them thrive, the Urban Institute published A New Safety Net for Low-Income Families. Two of its papers -- Making Work Pay Enough: A Decent Standard of Living for Working Families and Enabling Families to Weather Emergencies and Develop: The Role of Assets -- were the focus of this forum.

LIWF Research

Disability Onset Among Working Parents
By Cynthia Perry, Genevieve Kenney, and Bogdan Tereshchenko

In a five-year period, nearly 10 percent of employed parents suffer a disability. About a quarter of this group has a drop in wages and salary greater than 25 percent of family income. For this segment, income drops by as much as 70 percent, indicating that only a small fraction of the earnings decline is offset by other income sources.

Working for Cents on the Dollar: Race and Ethnic Wage Gaps in the Noncollege Labor Market
By Gregory Acs and Pamela Loprest

Black workers earn significantly less than white workers in the less-skilled labor market, and a significant difference (12 percent) remains even after controlling for worker, job, and employer characteristics. This paper assesses how much of the disparity in wages among racial and ethnic groups can be accounted for by differences in the types of jobs they hold, the skills and training the jobs require, and what the workers do.

Residential Segregation and Low-Income Working Families
By Margery Austin Turner and Karina Fortuny

This paper explores differences in the neighborhoods where white, black, and Hispanic low-income working families reside. It finds that policies aimed at reducing the persistent disadvantages facing minority low-income working families need to address the ways their neighborhoods may be compounding these disadvantages.

Employers' Perspectives on San Francisco's Paid Sick Leave Policy
By Shelley Waters Boots, Karin Martinson, and Anna Danziger

This report summarizes the challenges San Francisco employers say they faced implementing the nation’s first law requiring paid sick days for all employees. It details employer actions regarding operations, staffing, employee benefit packages, and reporting requirements.

Also of interest:

Job Differences by Race and Ethnicity in the Low-Skill Job Market
By Gregory Acs and Pamela J. Loprest

This brief uses data from the 2007 Survey of Employers in the Low-Skill Labor Market to examine the differences in jobs held by workers of different races and ethnicities and the impact of these differences on wages. Among workers recently hired into noncollege jobs, wages different considerably by race and ethnicity. The brief explores differences in characteristics of the jobs and the people who hold them.

A New Minimum Benefit for Low Lifetime Earners
By Melissa Favreault

The author proposes an enhanced minimum Social Security benefit for long-career workers with low lifetime earnings, as well as a modest credit to compensate workers out of the labor market due to caregiving, unemployment, or poor health. The proposal provides work incentives, yet recognizes that many low-wage workers have had intermittent work careers.

Unemployment Insurance in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1)
By Wayne Vroman

The economic stimulus bill enacted on February 17, 2009 has several provisions related to unemployment insurance (UI). Several governors have objected to some provisions. In this document, Senior Fellow Wayne Vroman, an economist and researcher on UI, answers key questions about the program changes.

The Stimulus Package (H.R. 1) and Low-Income Families
By Margaret Simms

This speech, given at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, discusses how the economic stimulus package addresses the policy needs of low-income working families. The remarks delve into how the legislation might reduce poverty in the short term, how it might help position service providers in the long term, and what researchers can do to inform policy development. Efforts are compared to the goals of increasing wages, promoting job stability and upward mobility, and providing income supports when needed.

Tailoring Assistance
By Margaret Simms

In a commentary for the "Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity" web site, Institute Fellow Margaret Simms explains how the poor are not a homogenous group of people, all of whom can and will work if they have no other means of support. Recognizing their diverse needs is necessary for developing effective antipoverty policies.


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