“Booming Economy” Leaving Many Michigan Families Behind

The Michigan Association of United Ways says systemic poverty includes large numbers of working poor in Michigan. A United Way report shows that for large numbers of Michigan families there is no ‘booming economy’. Doug Cunningham reports.

By Doug Cunningham

If you had to guess the percentage of Michigan families struggling economically in this so-called “booming” economy, what would you say? Michigan Association of United Way’s Mike Larson has an eye-opening answer for you.

“We’re talking over forty percent of the population of Michigan struggles each and every month to make ends meet. We have working families that are still struggling and not able to meet just a basic needs budget.”

Michigan Association of United Way’s issues what it calls an ALICE report – Asset Limited Income Challenged Working – to clarify the economic realities Michigan families are facing. And if you think the hot jobs market will take care of this problem, Larson says the jobs we have and are creating just aren’t paying enough for families to get ahead.

“What this report showed us is that in Michigan 62 percent of our jobs pay less than $20 per hour, and with two-thirds of those paying less than $15 per hour. So we’re filling positions with lower paying jobs.”

Larson says United Way is focused on this problem but it will take a bigger state and federal effort to directly take action. He urges people to get involved with United Way and he advocates that politicians of all stripes take this economic reality seriously and support policies that really help the working poor.