Patchwork or Paychecks: Technical Notes and End Notes

Part-Time Analysis

Analysis of part-time workers (including by race and occupation) at the state and national level was completed using Current Population Survey 2014 Annual Social and Economic Supplement data accessed from the University of Minnesota’s IPUMS-CPS tool.21 This analysis included only respondents between the ages of 18-65 who reported income from wages.

The race analysis focuses on single-race groups when sample sizes allow for it (typically only for the national analysis and for the White Alone analysis at the state level). When necessary, we include individuals who identify as mixed race into a given group’s sample. In determining whether to include a sample, we take into account sample size and the standard error of the mean.

Family Living Wage Budgets

A living wage is a wage that provides a household with financial stability, allowing it to meet its basic needs (including a small amount of savings) without government subsidy, with a little left over for to plan for emergencies. For this study, a modified market basket approach was used. Household budgets, upon which living wages are based, include:

Food;

Housing and utilities;

Transportation;

Health care;

Child care;

Household, clothing, and personal items;

Savings; and

State and federal taxes

Household Assumptions

Household types are selected to reflect the range of budget requirements for four household types:

Single adult

Single adult with one child between the ages of 6 and 8

Single adult with two children, one between the ages of 6 and 8 and the other between the ages of 1 and 2

Two adults including one wage earner, with two children, one between the ages of 6 and 8 and the other between the ages of 1 and 2

2014 Living wage findings and methodology were reported on in the Alliance’s October 2014 study, “Pay Up!,” available at http://www.thejobgap.org.

Defining Job-Seekers

Job-seekers include:

The unemployed — people who are not employed but are looking for work. Included are those who have been laid off, quit their jobs, are entering the workforce for the first time, or are re-entering it. Not included are those who are unemployed due to temporary layoff or those looking only for part-time work.

Involuntary part-time workers — people who work less than full-time, but want to work full-time.

Marginally attached and discouraged workers — people who are not employed and are not seeking work due to personal or financial reasons. This includes discouraged workers, who are not employed and not currently looking for work, but have looked for work within the past year. In the case of discouraged workers, they are not seeking work because they believe there are no jobs available or there are none for which they qualify.

It is important to note that the unemployment rate reflects only the unemployed and, therefore, misses many job-seekers — including discouraged and marginally attached workers. This suggests that there are many more job-seekers for each living wage job opening than conventionally assumed.

The job-seeker figures used are likely an underestimate of the actual number of job-seekers. Ideally, the count of job-seekers would capture everyone, working or not, who needs a living wage job. The figures used here do not count those who are working full-time at less than a living wage but would prefer a living wage job, because data on this group do not exist. They overstate the number in that all the unemployed are counted, even though some may not be looking for a living wage job. Also, people who left the labor market and then re-entered the same occupation are counted among the job-seekers, whereas those who moved directly from one job to another in the same occupation are not. However, assuming even a fraction of the people working at less than a living wage job for a single adult want a living wage job, the count is, on balance, an underestimate.

Job Openings

Job openings include the following:

Job openings due to growth — the result of new jobs being created by new or existing firms.

Job openings due to replacement — the result of people retiring, entering school or the military, moving across state boundaries, changing occupations, or otherwise leaving the occupation in which they currently work.

The analysis does not include job openings that result from people changing employers but remaining in the same occupation, since these are largely invisible to the average job seeker. Also not included, for similar reasons, are job openings for unpaid family workers and self-employment.

Job openings data comes from Occupational Employment Projections, estimated at the state and national level, using 2012-2022 data to ensure uniformity across states and nationally. This data was collected from Projectionscentral.com, as suggested by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In determining which job openings paid a living wage (or $15 in the national analysis), the state median wage for an occupation was used where available; this means that half the people in the occupation earn less and half earn more than that amount. Not everyone will start at the median wage, but many should progress to that wage over time. For occupations where median wage numbers were shown as a range, mean wages were used instead.

End Notes

  1. Henry, B. & Fredericksen, A. (2015). “Low wage nation: Nearly half of new jobs don’t pay enough to make ends meet.” Alliance for a Just Society. http://allianceforajustsociety.org/2015/01/low-wage-nation/
  2. Fredericksen, A. (2015). “Pay up! Long hours and low pay leave workers at a loss.” Alliance for a Just Society. http://allianceforajustsociety.org/2015/10/pay-up-long-hours-and-low-pay-leave-workers-at-a-loss/
  3. Henry, B. & Fredericksen, A. 92014). “Equity in the balance: How a living wage would help women and people of color make ends meet.” Alliance for a Just Society. http://allianceforajustsociety.org/2014/11/8781/
  4. Ibid.
  5. Henry, B. & Fredericksen, A. (2015). “Low wage nation: Nearly half of new jobs don’t pay enough to make ends meet.” Alliance for a Just Society. http://allianceforajustsociety.org/2015/01/low-wage-nation/
  6. Chinitz, J., Fu, C., & Smith, G. (2008). “The 2008 Job Gap: Tough times for Northwest families.” Alliance for a Just Society. http://allianceforajustsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/2008-1209_2008-Job-Gap.pdf
  7. Stangler, C. (2015). “Unemployment report: Six years after the Great Recession, are the good jobs ever coming back?” International Business Times. http://www.ibtimes.com/unemployment-report-six-years-after-great-recession-are-good-jobs-ever-coming-back-1838178
  8. Author’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (2006-2014), “Labor force statistics from the Current Population Survey.” http://www.bls.gov/cps/tables.htm
  9. Sixel, L.M. (2014). “Part-time jobs mean full-time headaches for some workers.” Houston Chronicle. http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Part-time-jobs-mean-full-time-headaches-for-some-5721919.php
  10. Golden, L. (2015). “Irregular work scheduling and its consequences.” Economic Policy Institute. http://www.epi.org/publication/irregular-work-scheduling-and-its-consequences/
  11. Greenhouse, S. (2015). “In service sector, no rest for the working.” The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/business/late-to-bed-early-to-rise-and-working-tired.html
  12. Covert, B. (2014). Starbucks changes scheduling practices to make them more humane for employees.” ThinkProgress. http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/08/14/3471440/starbucks-scheduling/
  13. Von Bergen, J. (2014). “Pa. Supreme Court affirms $151M ruling against Wal-Mart.” Philly.com. http://articles.philly.com/2014-12-17/business/57117404_1_meal-breaks-formula-judith-spanier
  14. Freed Wessler, S. (2013). “How fast food companies steal workers’ pay.” Colorlines. http://www.colorlines.com/articles/how-fast-food-companies-steal-workers-pay
  15. Gillespie, P. (2014). “Part-time jobs put millions in poverty or close to it.” CNN Money. http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/20/news/economy/america-part-time-jobs-poverty/
  16. Professional Edge (2012). “Temporary and part-time workers: Overcoming transportation challenges.” http://www.gettheprofessionaledge.com/Solutions_September2012_Article4.html
  17. Author’s analysis of Current Population Survey data retrieved from Flood, S., King, M., Ruggles, S., & Warren J.R. (2015). Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey: Version 4.0. [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. http://www.ipums.org.
  18. Fredericksen, A. (2015). “Pay up! Long hours and low pay leave workers at a loss.” Alliance for a Just Society. http://allianceforajustsociety.org/2015/10/pay-up-long-hours-and-low-pay-leave-workers-at-a-loss/
  19. Ibid.
  20. Note: while analysis of part-time Asian/Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders was possible at the national level, no states had a sufficiently large sample size to report on this analysis at the state level.
  21. Flood, S., King, M., Ruggles, S., & Warren J.R. (2015). Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey: Version 4.0. [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. http://www.ipums.org.
  22. Notes: Because the U.S. Census bureau classifies Latinos (and Latinas) as an ethnicity and not a race, they are separated throughout this report and not included in workers of color.

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