Nearly Half of U.S. Families Risk Sliding into Poverty Due to Insecure Employment

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Key Points:

  • Job insecurity among U.S. families could have lasting consequences on future generations. It needs to be seen whether the children will be able to escape the vicious cycles of poverty in their own future.
  • Research indicates that nearly half of American families with young children face chronic poverty.
  • New policies are needed to promote decent wages and stable jobs, with child care and other benefits, to reverse the dire situation.

New research indicates that nearly 50% of families in the U.S., especially those with young children, could likely fall into an ongoing poverty trap during the first six years of their children’s lives.

So what puts these families at risk? According to a study from experts at Washington University and New York University, precarious employment or insecure parental work are the main reason that children might be exposed to chronic deprivation later.

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What did the Study Entail?

The study used four indicators to measure whether parents were in ideal employment situations or not. These include weekly work hours, work schedules, hourly wages, and occupation.

Based on the stability of these elements, the study then concluded that children were more likely to experience poverty in the early stages of their lives. These were long-lasting effects observed in around 10,000 children in 2001. Although the children in Han’s study sample are now young adults, they continue to experience job insecurity and instability in their own current economic situations.

According to the New York University professor, Wei-Jui Han, who co-authored the study, this data focuses on families before the Great Recession, also known as the “golden years”. During this time, people faced pressure to work constantly due to the rising demand witnessed in their respective industries. Particularly in the service sectors, companies needed more manpower to meet new customer requirements and keep up with growing globalization trends. All these pressures forced businesses to take drastic measures to stay competitive, the consequences of which are still seen today.

According to Han, individuals working these low-wage service jobs were expected to take up two to three jobs and work 12 to 13 hours daily to keep up with growing household expenses. Yet, this was still not enough to save for the rainy day or plan for a better future for their children.

Is There Any Hope for These Families?

With the recent recession caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, many workers attempted to offset these adverse circumstances by reversing their current job positions. In particular, more workers have begun to reject low-paying jobs with no visible benefits. However, Han states that there’s a possibility this attitude may not continue.

Workers and daily wage earners lack the power to negotiate with their employers on getting favorable schedules, benefits, and wages. They are also unable to demand better job timings that would allow them to accommodate their families’ needs while making a decent living.

workers and daily wage earners lack the power to negotiate with their employers on getting favorable schedules, benefits, and wages

At the same time, there have been efforts toward breaking this cycle. Since the current situation of these families does not allow them to tackle the issue on their own, help should come from the top. Since most children in these families live in impoverished areas with little or no access to quality education, it can be increasingly hard to escape poverty and get well-paying jobs in their adulthood.

Han urges the policymakers to enact strong policies that would help these families in their ongoing struggles. Sustainable family support and other government-sponsored programs will ensure that the economic instability that these children are exposed to today will not translate into their adulthood lives.

Such strategies will go a long way to mitigate the rising risks of job insecurity, food insecurity, and homelessness in low-income communities in the U.S. These should support children’s needs during their early years while also placing them in a stable position for future success.

At the same time, these efforts will also provide some assurance of stable employment for the parents of these children. That way, they wouldn’t be at risk of losing their jobs every time a recession hits. Guaranteeing job benefits, child-care services, and decent wages wouldn’t hurt either.

In fact, Han believes that income support is the only effective way to really help get families through this difficult time. They need support from where it matters the most.

Apptree: Giving Hope During Dire Times

With all that being said, Apptree Staffing Solutions wants to be there to help these families safeguard their children’s futures.

We can do this by providing you with premium staffing and employment solutions. With our years of experience, we offer innovative recruitment solutions to help you secure a job with your desired wage and benefits. Whether you’re looking for long-term solutions for your children’s future or short-term jobs to get through the recession, we can!

Contact us today to follow top recruiters across diverse industries and locations. Conversely, if you are an employer and looking for top talent, you can get a free quote for our full-service staffing solutions.