Ranks of working poor increasing

By:  Michael A. Fletcher

Nearly a third of the nation’s working families earn salaries so low that they struggle to pay for their necessities, according to a new report.

The ranks of the so-called working poor have grown even as the nation has created new jobs for 27 consecutive months and is showing other signs of shaking off the worst effects of the recession.

“Although many people are returning to work, they are often taking jobs with lower wages and less job security, compared with the middle class jobs they held before the downturn,” said a report released Tuesday by the Working Poor Families Project, a national initiative aimed at fostering state policies to help low-income working families.

With the nation’s economy in recovery, the report said, more than 70 percent of low-income families and half of all poor families were working by 2011, the report said. The problem is they did not earn enough to cover their basic living expenses.

“We’re not on a good trajectory,” said Brandon Roberts, who manages the Working Poor Families Project. “The overall number of low-income working families is increasing despite the recovery.”

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