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Staying Employed After Welfare: Work Supports and Job Quality Vital to Employment Tenure and Wage Growth

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Real wage growth and long-term employment work together. People who remain consistently employed over time are more likely to experience real wage increases. But, causality runs both ways: those who start off at higher wages are more likely to stay employed.

Remaining employed over time usually indicates higher starting wages and results in real wage increases. This relationship is especially important in the low-wage labor market. Employment duration and wage growth are the most useful indicators for assessing the long-term success of welfare reform. Welfare recipients who are able to leave welfare and maintain employment have the best chance of experiencing real wage growth over the long term. Individuals who maintain employment will be on a path toward attaining a safe and decent standard of living for themselves and their families.

For many workers, and most welfare recipients, finding and keeping a job begins at home by finding a way to balance all of life's responsibilities. For workers with family responsibilities, the capacity to maintain employment depends on whether they have access to safe and affordable child care. For working parents, and especially single mothers, using a center-based care provider and receiving help with child care are both associated with staying employed.