The authors wish to acknowledge the support of the Labor Resource Center at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. We would like to thank Annette Bernhardt for her helpful comments on the paper. Cover photos courtesy of Calgary Reviews, Christopher Macsurak, and Rameshng. Work licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2. Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA. America’s major public benefits programs are from working families. But many of them work in jobs that pay wages so low that their paychecks do not generate enough income to provide for life’s basic necessities.
Low wages paid by employers in the fast-food industry create especially acute problems for the families of workers in this industry. This report estimates the public cost of low-wage jobs in the fast-food industry. Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the other public benefits programs discussed in this report provide a vital support system for millions of Americans working in the United States’ service industries, including fast food. 25 percent of the workforce as a whole. 91 billion in Earned Income Tax Credit payments.
People working in fast-food jobs are more likely to live in or near poverty. One in five families with a member holding a fast-food job has an income below the poverty line, and 43 percent have an income two times the federal poverty level or less. Even full-time hours are not enough to compensate for low wages. The families of more than half of the fast-food workers employed 40 or more hours per week are enrolled in public assistance programs. Introduction After years of losses, job growth has slowly returned to the U. However, today’s new jobs are often inadequate replacements for those recently lost. Middle-wage occupations accounted for 60 percent of employment losses between 2007 and 2009, yet they represent just 20 percent of post-recession job growth.