2016: The Seventh Year of Wisconsin’s Frozen Minimum Wage

Tuesday, December 29, 2015 at 6:07 PM by

As the calendar turns to 2016 this Friday, the minimum wage will increase in 14 states and a number of cities, and two other states have enacted increases that take effect later in the year. Unfortunately, Wisconsin isn’t one of them. In fact, Wisconsin is one of the 21 states where the minimum wage is just $7.25 per hour and has been stuck at that amount since the last increase in the federal minimum, which was almost seven years ago.

Here are some examples of the 16 state minimum wage increases that take effect in 2016. (These figures are for the general minimum wage, which in many states does not apply to tipped employees.)

  • Arkansas The minimum wage will be $8.00 an hour in 2016 and $8.50 in 2017, compared to $7.50 in 2015.
  • California and Massachusetts $10.00 an hour (vs. $9.00 now)
  • Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont – $9.60 an hour (from $9.00 or $9.15 now)
  • Maryland – $8.75 an hour (from $8.00 in 2015, and increasing to $10.10 in 2018)
  • Michigan – $8.50 an hour (from $8.15)
  • Minnesota – $9.50 an hour (from $9.00)
  • Nebraska $9.00 an hour (compared to $8.00 in 2015)
Read more
Categories: Blog, ECONOMIC SECURITY, minimum wage, poverty | Comments Off on 2016: The Seventh Year of Wisconsin’s Frozen Minimum Wage

Fewer Wisconsinites are Struggling Thanks to Help from the Government

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 3:48 PM by

Wisconsin Should Do More to Build On This Success

The federal government made a big difference in the lives of struggling people in 2014, showing the powerful role governments can play in creating opportunity and helping people build a more secure future. An analysis of new data from the Census Bureau demonstrates the success of federal programs and underscores the need for Wisconsin to do more to build on that success through its own opportunity-expanding policies, such as increasing the minimum wage and reversing cuts to the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit. 

Almost one in five Wisconsin children live in families that made so little in 2014 that they were below the federal poverty level, according to new Census Bureau data released last week – meaning that they couldn’t afford basic necessities. The poverty level is currently $11,770 for a single person and $24,250 for a family of four. Fortunately, key safety net supports are keeping millions from living in dire circumstances, something not captured in the official poverty measure.  Read more

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Census Figures Show Economic Growth Isn’t Widely Shared

Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 6:07 PM by

Wisconsin Needs to Make Investments that Help Put People on the Path to Economic Security

Many Wisconsin families continue to struggle to make ends meet, according to new figures released today. We have our work cut out for us to make sure that all Wisconsin families have the opportunity to build a better, more secure future for themselves.

Five years into the nation’s recovery from recession, Wisconsin’s working families remain considerably worse off than they were before. Nearly three-quarters of a million Wisconsinites lived in poverty in 2014, according to today’s release of new Census data, which is 150,000 more than in 2007.  Poverty is more prevalent among children than adults, with about 1 in 6 Wisconsin kids in poverty last year. Read more

Categories: Blog, ECONOMIC SECURITY, poverty | Comments Off on Census Figures Show Economic Growth Isn’t Widely Shared

The State of Working Wisconsin 2015

Monday, September 7, 2015 at 9:00 AM by

A new report issued in conjunction with the Labor Day weekend by COWS provides a thorough examination of Wisconsin job numbers, wages, poverty, and job quality, and it provides a sobering assessment of how working people in Wisconsin are doing:

Wisconsin faces slow growth, extreme racial disparity in unemployment, long-term stagnation in wages, and one-fourth of workers struggling in poverty-wage jobs.” 

The new COWS report – The State of Working Wisconsin 2015 – illustrates that as the national economy has gradually rebounded following the Great Recession, Wisconsin’s job growth has lagged behind.  COWS’ analysis concludes that “if Wisconsin had enjoyed the same rate of job growth as the rest of the nation across the course of the recovery, the state would have 90,000 more jobs today.”  The national growth rate from January 2011 through June of this year was 60% faster than the job growth Wisconsin experienced during that time..  Read more

Categories: Blog, economy, income, jobs, poverty | Comments Off on The State of Working Wisconsin 2015

2015 Federal Poverty Levels

Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 6:09 PM by
Federal officials recently released the 2015 Federal Poverty Income Guidelines, better known as the federal poverty levels (FPL). States and the federal government use the guidelines to determine eligibility for many public assistance programs, such as Medicaid, BadgerCare and child care subsidies.
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Five Things to Know about Poverty in Wisconsin

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 1:54 PM by
Four years into the nation’s recovery from recession, too many Wisconsin families are worse off than they were before the economic collapse of 2008. New Census figures give us an updated picture of poverty in Wisconsin, and what we can do to address it.
Categories: Blog, ECONOMIC SECURITY, poverty | Comments Off on Five Things to Know about Poverty in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s Slow Economic Recovery Leaves Many Behind

Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 3:22 PM by
Wisconsin's gradual economic recovery still hasn't substantially expanded economic opportunity for working people and families. Median incomes are still well below their pre-recession level, and our state’s elevated poverty levels have yet to begin declining.
Categories: Blog, economy, EITC, poverty | Comments Off on Wisconsin’s Slow Economic Recovery Leaves Many Behind

Wisconsin Women Twice as Likely as Men to Hold a Low-Wage Job

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 1:06 PM by

Women are vastly-overrepresented in jobs that pay low wages, in Wisconsin and across the country, according to a new report from the National Women’s Law Center.

Women’s educational attainment and work experience have increased dramatically in recent decades, but they are still far more likely than men to work at low-wage jobs, which are defined in the report as jobs that pay $10.10 an hour or less. In Wisconsin, 1 in 5 women work in low-wage jobs – adding up to nearly a quarter of a million workers. In contrast, only about 1 in 12 men in Wisconsin work in low wage jobs. Put another way, Wisconsin women are 2.3 times as likely as Wisconsin men to work for low wages.

Many women who work in low-wage jobs are parents, according to the report. Nearly one-third of women nationally who work at low-wage jobs are mothers, and nearly half of these mothers are single. Read more

Categories: Blog, ECONOMIC SECURITY, minimum wage, poverty | Comments Off on Wisconsin Women Twice as Likely as Men to Hold a Low-Wage Job

A Decade in the Wrong Direction: Wisconsin Student Poverty Rate Increases for the 10th Consecutive Year

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 2:52 PM by

A recent release from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction reports upsetting news concerning the state’s student poverty rate. The percentage of Wisconsin children representing low-income families has increased for yet another year.

In the 2013-14 school year 43.3 percent of students were eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches. Although this is only an increase of one-tenth of a percentage from the previous academic year, it is important to note that this pattern of seemingly small increases over the past decade has led to a near 14 percentage increase in the number of Wisconsin’s children who are from low-income families and thus, eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

FRL-increases3

Students who are in families with an annual income that is less than 130% of the federal poverty level quality for free school meals, while students in families earning more than the 130% but less than 185% of the federal poverty level are eligible to receive reduced-price lunches. Read more

Categories: Blog, ECONOMIC SECURITY, EDUCATION, K-12, poverty | Comments Off on A Decade in the Wrong Direction: Wisconsin Student Poverty Rate Increases for the 10th Consecutive Year

The True Cost of Cheap Eats: Fast Food Workers in Wisconsin Strike

Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 2:55 PM by
Fast food workers in Wisconsin are part of a national strike to rally for higher wages. Strikes took place in Milwaukee, Madison, Wausau, and other Wisconsin cities. Workers are advocating for a wage floor of $15 an hour.
Categories: Blog, ECONOMIC SECURITY, food stamps, JOBS & THE ECONOMY, poverty | Comments Off on The True Cost of Cheap Eats: Fast Food Workers in Wisconsin Strike