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Low-Income Workers and Their Employers: Characteristics and Challenges

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Publication Date: September 2007

Publisher(s): Tax Policy Center

Author(s): Gregory Acs; Austin Nichols

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Economics (Economic conditions)

Keywords: Employment; Wages and Non-wage Compensation; Workplace and Industry Studies; Economic inequality

Type: Report

Abstract:

This paper finds that about one in four workers, ages 18 to 61, earned less than $7.73 an hour in 2003. Low-wage workers who reside in low-income families with children are substantially less educated than the average worker, are concentrated in industries with low wages, and have limited prospects for wage growth. Many policies aimed at low-wage workers are not well-targeted at workers in low-income families with children, in part because only one in four low-wage workers reside in such families. Nevertheless, policies targeted at low-wage workers may have broad benefits, including improving the lot of low-income families with children.