WisKids Count 2009-2010
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Jobs Count: Helping Wisconsin Families Thrive Through
Wisconsinites have long been known as hard-working people. Our overall labor force participation rate has been significantly higher than the national average for many years (70.7 percent in Wisconsin compared to 66.0 percent in United States in 2007). But for many pockets of the state’s population, that fact has not translated into economic well-being. Although there have been improvements in some areas, we have seen increasing economic insecurity among many Wisconsin residents over the past several years despite their hard work.
The severe recession that began in late 2007 can be blamed for many of the disturbing statistics we see today in unemployment, foreclosure rates, and increased use of public benefits; however, many Wisconsinites were already facing tough employment challenges even before the latest recession began. Significant gaps exist, for example, in our education and job training infrastructure, and there are far too few connections to work for many of our youth. Many residents find that there are few available jobs – even low-quality, low-paying ones – located near where they live. Many who are currently working are stuck in low-paying jobs that offer little or no flexibility to deal with family emergencies, or even ongoing child care needs. And when work is not available or does not pay enough to support a family, our safety net does not always provide the safe landing they need. These employment challenges, which exist to varying degrees in different parts of the state, are much more acute for minorities. Employment-related data show disturbing disparities between white and minority residents around the state. In fact, Wisconsin’s racial economic disparities are among the worst in the nation.
In this essay, we take a look at three categories of ongoing employment challenges in Wisconsin – (1) preparation for work, (2) access to quality jobs and wages, and (3) supports for displaced workers. We then offer a number of recommendations that could help more families achieve economic security.
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To order a copy of the 2009-2010 WISKIDS Count Data Book, please contact Wenona Wolf by telephone: (608) 284-0580, ext. 304 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org