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Low Wage Jobs Go Up, But So Does Cost Of The Basics In Michigan


Having a job in Michigan doesn’t mean you can make ends meet.  That’s the message of a new reportreleased by the Michigan Association of United Ways.

Forty percent of working Michigan households in 2015 could not afford the basics.  The five major basics described in the study are housing, child care, food, health care, and transportation. 

NancyLindman is the Interim CEO of the association.  She said this results in making difficult choices – like between child care in order to work and the type of food the family eats. 

“What we find is that it’s tough to keep a job and to advance in a job when I’m trying to balance these five things and make things work,” Lindman said. 

This can also result in, “a struggle in terms of really advancing to a steadier level or to a more stable financial situation,” Lindman said.

The association found that 62 percent of the jobs in Michigan pay less than 20 dollars an hour, but the average household budget has gone up because of inflation. 

Lindman said there is no “silver bullet” to fix this.  But awareness, making sure everyone claims their earned income tax credit, and increasing support for good, low cost child care are all ways to help this problem. 

“We can all do something,” she said.  “But to work together, come together, community by community in order to improve things for our households.”

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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