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Three fourths of Oregon job openings don't pay a living wage

Minimum Wage Falls Far Short of Meeting Basic Needs
Contact: Rich Rohde 772-4029
September 23, 2004

Over Three Quarters of Job Openings Do Not Pay a Living Wage for Oregon Families

Medford, OR - Today, Oregon Action and the Northwest Federation of Community Organizations released "Searching for Work that Pays: 2004 Northwest Job Gap Study." This study gives alarming news about the lack of living wage job openings in the state - openings that are sorely needed. The report concludes that the number of job seekers far outstrips the number of living wage job openings available.

According to the study, every single adult must compete with six others for a sole living wage position. For adults with children, the prospects of finding living wage employment are even bleaker. There is only one job opening for every 24 job-seeking parents raising two children on his or her own.

While new jobs may be opening up, the vast majority of these do not meet basic needs. Of all job openings in Oregon, only 20 percent pay a living wage for a family of three - leaving 80 percent of new jobs providing wages that are inadequate to meet this family's basic needs. "This comes as disturbing news for working families who keep hoping for an economic recovery," said Chris Lachner a spokesperson for Oregon Action.

The report finds that a single person in Oregon must earn $10.17 an hour, or $21,156 a year, to meet his or her basic needs. A single parent with two children must earn $21.44 an hour, or $44,586 a year. This living wage includes necessities such as food, housing and utilities, transportation, health care and child care. It also includes money for savings which families need for emergencies and to plan ahead.

This wage differs from the federal poverty level and the federal minimum wage. The report concludes that the Oregon minimum wage is insufficient to meet the needs of any Oregon household, including that of a single adult. In Oregon, the minimum wage, $7.05 [now $7.25] is above the federal minimum wage.

Given the lack of living wage job openings, according to the study, each day families are foregoing their basic needs. Many are forced to make difficult choices between adequate health care, balanced meals, and paying the bills.

"Working families should be able to count on food, housing and health care," says Chris Lachner. "These are basic necessities that everyone should have. If our lawmakers aren't making sure that the jobs in our state meet our basic needs, it's up them to find another way to meet them."

homepage: homepage: http://www.nwfco.org/

Oregon minimum wage / living wage gap 01.Jul.2005 16:06

Northwest Federation of Community Organizations


"competes with six adults for a job" 01.Jul.2005 17:04

is that ALL?

I recently competed with about 100 people for a job opening.

Things are very discouraging in this town, in the job market. Meantime, playgounds for the wealthy continue to be built all around us. There are plenty of McMansions, lots of fancy shopping malls, and even rehabbed shopping centers that remain dark and un-leased for months at a time (like the ones at 14th and SE Morrison, and on NE 15th, N. of Broadway, and all over town).

Someone's getting a tax break for these newly developed sites, but it's not one of us!!!

It's high time we went into a REVOLT!!!

Create jobs 01.Jul.2005 17:35

George Bender

I retired a few years ago, but I always found it difficult to find a job, impossible to find one that paid over $10 an hour. We should loudly tell our state and federal legislators that we want something done about this. The U.S. has a chronic shortage of jobs, especially good jobs.

In Oregon, we should abolish all the business tax breaks (credits) and use the money for, among other things, paying people for the volunteer work they're already doing. This was suggested by Jeremy Rifkin in his 1995 book "The End of Work" ( http://www.jobsletter.org.nz/art/rifkin05.htm). As he pointed out, there is plenty of work that needs to be done in this country, it's just that we're not willing to pay people to do it.

It used to be said by U.S. liberals that "government is the employer of last resort."

The only way to save the State is.... 01.Jul.2005 18:33

TH oc4sure@hotmail.com

energy projects.

Waste waste waste!
It's everywhere, it should be used to make electricity/fuel.
Biomass, biodiesel, biogas, it's all ready, get a group together, do some research, find some free "waste", get a loan or grant, put a project together, start making some energy and start selling it to those energy raiders.
Energy is basically the only thing, that will be in high demand, till the end of time.
Big companies are not going to come in and save us, neither are our leaders (thanks Wyden for Cafta) it's time for us to get our asses in gear.
With high N. gas/petro/electricity prices, energy will become more and more valuable.

Living wages at Peoples Food Co-op Now! 02.Jul.2005 20:48


I recently have seen several job opening at Peoples.

Is it true that workers start at 8.4 an hour??

Is it also true that they have to stay at 8.4 an hour for a year??

Is it also true that the maximum raise at the end of the year is $1 an hour?

Is it also true that no health care coverage is offered to the staff??

It's starting to sound like wal-mart except for the farmers markets, kind people and the great food.

How is it that it's okay for Peoples to subsidize wages on social welfare programs, but not okay for wal-mart or wild oats??

don't get me wrong, I love peoples, but the workers there are getting the short end of the tempeh stick.