April 19, 2024
Many DACA recipients are employed within the restaurant trade. Courtesy Pixabay

California’s $16-an-hour minimal wage could also be a lot larger than a “poverty wage” by federal requirements, however excessive housing prices nonetheless make it tough for low wage employees to stay and make ends meet within the state, in keeping with a brand new report by the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Workplace. 

The report, revealed Monday, paints an image of who low wage employees are and whether or not the state’s minimal wage is ample to handle poverty and inequality.

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Many employees transfer on from low wage work to larger paying jobs as they transition from their 20s to their 30s, however that mobility slows considerably when employees enter their early 30s, in keeping with the report. 

“In consequence, half of low-wage employees are over 35 and one-quarter are 50 or older,” the report states. “The state’s financial insurance policies ought to replicate the truth that many employees maintain comparatively low-wage jobs by center age and past.”

Nearly all of low wage employees — outlined as those that earn an hourly wage of $17.50 or much less — are dwelling well being and private care aides. Three-fourths of them are a part of the state’s In-Residence Supportive Providers program, which supplies care aides to low earnings people. 

Quick meals employees make up the second largest low wage occupation, however that doubtless gained’t be the case as soon as that trade’s $20-an-hour minimal wage kicks in subsequent month. Different low wage jobs embody cashiers, retail salespeople, waiters, farmworkers and packagers.

Practically 6 in 10 low wage employees are Latino, and about half of these are immigrants. Most low wage employees stay with a minimum of one different employee and haven’t any younger youngsters. 

“We suspect that low-wage employees’ excessive chance of dwelling in three-earner (or extra) households may be due largely to California’s excessive housing prices,” the legislative analyst’s workplace mentioned. 

The workplace additionally analyzed housing affordability for minimal wage earners of various family sizes and in varied areas and located that California’s main metropolitan areas and far of its Central Coast are unaffordable for minimal wage employees, no matter whether or not they’re single-income households, double-low-income households or if they’ve youngsters. 

For minimal wage employees with a extra “favorable” ratio of earnings to bills — for instance these with out youngsters and people with two  earners in a family — housing in some rural and mid-size metro areas could also be reasonably priced. 

However there are eight coastal counties within the state the place even two minimal wage employees in a family with one baby would face housing prices exceeding half their gross earnings, in keeping with the report. 

For minimal wage earners who’re single mother and father and have a minimum of one baby, housing is unaffordable in all however three California counties, Modoc, Trinity and Colusa, in keeping with the report. In all counties besides Modoc, a single dad or mum of three who earns minimal wage can count on housing prices that exceed half their gross earnings. 

It’s much more difficult to afford housing in counties that don’t have native minimal wages. 

The report analyzed wage variations throughout California areas. Common wages in Imperial County, Monterey County and many of the San Joaquin Valley are 20% decrease than the state common. Within the Bay Space, wages are 20% larger, and in some counties, 50% larger than the state common. 

Lots of the excessive wage areas don’t have native minimal wages, which impacts low wage employees’ capacity to afford dwelling there. 

In 5 of the state’s costliest counties — Marin, Monterey, Orange, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz — just one metropolis, Novato, has a neighborhood minimal wage larger than the state’s. 

“Going ahead, the Legislature might want to take into account taking a extra lively position — maybe by setting completely different minimal wages in several areas or by serving to native governments coordinate their minimal wage insurance policies,” the legislative analyst’s workplace mentioned.

CalMatters is a public curiosity journalism enterprise dedicated to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it issues.