While we all wring our hands and wonder why it is so many of our young people are leaving the state, perhaps it would be instructive to consider the latest report on wages in New York:
The report from a labor-backed think tank said that 5.7 million New Yorkers are part of families that face a “hardship gap” in which at least one person has a job but the earnings aren’t enough to cover all basic expenses, including food, rent, utilities, health insurance, transportation and child care.
The proportion of New York families who don’t make enough to pay for these services, 30 percent, is well above the national median of 22 percent and is the highest of any Northeast state, according to the Fiscal Policy Institute report.
The report also goes on to state that a wage of $17 an hour is required in order to keep a family of four afloat. That’s a tall order in many professions, and especially in unskilled labors. Keep in mind also that the national average of 22 percent includes states like Louisiana, Arkansas and West Virginia where grinding poverty exists in ways most of us in this state don’t even fully understand as “America.” That we are so far behind in providing our state citizens – to say nothing of national citizens – a decent living wage is an embarrassment to our name.