Poor Wages Send a Third of US Manufacturing Workers to Welfare Lines in Order to Pay for Food, Healthcare, Data Show


A welder works in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, May 3, 2010. (photo: Sean Gardner/Reuters)
A welder works in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, May 3, 2010. (photo: Sean Gardner/Reuters)

 

Angelo Young | International Business Times | Reader Supported News | May 12, 2016

.S. manufacturing jobs used to be a path to the middle class for Americans who couldn’t or didn’t dive into the comfort provided by higher education degrees. But now many skilled, working Americans need some form of public assistance because their wages don’t pay for basic living expenses.

Just over 2 million supervised manufacturing workers, or about a third of the total, need food stamps, Medicaid, tax credits for the poor or other forms of publicly subsided assistance while they work on goods that can carry the tag “Made in the U.S.A.,” according to research of official government wage and welfare data relased Tuesday by the University of California, Berkeley.

The cost of these benefits to the U.S. taxpayer? From 2009 to 2013, federal and state governments subsidized the low manufacturing wages paid by the private sector to the tune of $10.2 million per year.

Oregon led the nation on the number of manufacturing workers – 1 in 4 – that needed food stamps during that period of time, while 1 in 5 factory workers in Mississippi and Illinois needed healthcare assistance for both adults (Medicaid) and children (CHIP). Taking into account all major social welfare, including the earned income tax credit and temporary assistance to needy families (TANF), Mississippi topped the list, followed by Georgia, California and Texas.

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