Living Wage Available to One-In-Eight Washingtonians

By Paige Browning

A living wage is available to just a fraction of job seekers in Washington state, according to a new report by the national group Alliance for a Just Society. The alliance’s 15th annual report shows that the living wage for a single adult in Washington is about $16 an hour. At that rate there are eight job seekers for each job. Living wage for two adults and two children is almost $20 an hour, of which there is one job per 22 job seekers.

Report contributor Ben Henry is with the alliance and says since the recession, the majority of new jobs are low-wage. He says "we’re witnessing a new American economy in which the definition of work has gone from making a living to surviving and just scraping by... Looking at employment outcomes from 2000 to 2012 we see a dramatic shift in the share of low wage jobs in the American work force.”
 
The alliance determined living wage based on prices for food, healthcare, transportation, taxes, and other basic expenses. Washington’s Community Action Network says a higher minimum wage like passed in the town of SeaTac would help with this situation. Washington CAN also says lawmakers need to stand for workers.
 
Alliance For a Just Society reviewed 10 states and New York City in its report “America’s Changing Economy: Searching for Work in the New Low-Wage Job Market”.
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