While the U.S. economy is growing, many middle-class workers earn incredibly low salaries that keep them in poverty, reports Matthew Desmond of The New York Times. The term “working homeless” describes a group of people that have jobs but cannot afford a home due to high housing costs. American productivity has gone up 77% since 1973, but wages have only risen by 12%. Today, many people can find jobs but not ones that help them afford even basic necessities. The dismantling of unions has contributed to this. America has become incredibly wealthy over past decades, but most of this wealth is channeled to the already rich.
Having a job is pivotal in helping poor people lift themselves up, argues Ron Haskins of The Brooking Institute. There is a direct correlation between a household’s employment levels and their poverty. Not only do jobs increase social mobility, they also provide meaning and happiness. An Urban Institute study found that single mothers specifically who stopped receiving welfare and entered the labor force saw drastic reductions in their poverty levels. The decline in working rates in America has strongly contributed to more people living in poverty. Job training programs are some of many ways we should support jobless people in finding employment.