New Report Shows Indiana County Workers Need $14.96 an Hour to Make Ends Meet

The Center for Community Growth joins the United Mine Workers Association in calling on Dave Reed to support an increase in the minimum wage, a step toward a real living wage.

Indiana, PA– Minimum wage workers in Pennsylvania are falling further behind.  While minimum wages is $7.25 an actual living wage, the amount it takes a single worker to make ends meet across the state, is $16.41 per hour.  In Indiana, it’s only a bit less, at $14.96.

A worker in Pennsylvania needs to work over ninety hours a week at minimum wage to cover their own basic needs.

Today, The Center for Community Growth is releasing “Pay Up! Long Hours and Low Pay Leave Workers at a Loss,” a national study by our partners, The Alliance for a Just Society, showing that even the $15 an hour wage that is gaining momentum around the country is a modest proposal, and not enough for workers in most states to make ends meet.

Working full time should provide financial stability, not poverty. Low wage workers provide services we all count on every day as we do our shopping, dine out, or take our children to child care.LW graphic1

“Pay Up puts real numbers to what we all know, the minimum wage keeps workers trapped in poverty. Working the equivalent of two full time jobs just to make ends meet is not realistic.” according to Gerald Smith, Co-director of the Center for Community Growth.

“Pay Up!” also reveals how much a Pennsylvania worker supporting a family needs to be paid:

  • The living wage for a single adult and school age child: $16.41
  • A single adult with a toddler and a school age child: $24.35
  • Two adults (one working) with a toddler and school age child: $31.67
  • Two adults (both working) with a toddler and a school age child: $20.91

A living wage allows workers and families to meet their basic needs without public assistance and set aside a small amount of savings for emergencies such as a car repair, or plan ahead for expenses such as high winter heating bill.  The living wage calculation includes food, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, (child care) clothing, savings and state and federal taxes.

Dr. Brandon Vick from IUP’s Economics Department oversaw much of the calculation of the living wage. “We took state, federal, and local data sources to put together a market basket of costs. What this doesn’t take into account, and is also important, is other supports that we know that low income families depend on to fill in the gaps, such as the programs offered by organizations like ICCAP.

“When people aren’t making a living wage, they’re forced to make impossible financial choices that leaves families vulnerable. The right thing to do is for us to come together as a community and raise the minimum wage, so that working people have a chance for stability.” Said Rev. Joan Sabatino.

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