Friday, April 1, 2011

New Index Details the Components of Economic Security

By Christa Tinsley Spaht, Project Manager

A New York Times article today highlights "The Basic Economic Security Tables for the United States," a new report published by the non-profit advocacy group Wider Opportunities for Women. The study (PDF) attempts to contrast U.S. poverty thresholds, average wages in certain jobs, and the realities of living expenses – food, utilities, housing, taxes, etc. – to demonstrate the harsh disparities between what many employed Americans are earning and how much they must spend on the basics for themselves and their children. The study also mentions the critical role of financial savings in securing an individual or household’s ability to cover expenses after retirement and the long-term costs of economic insecurity on workers.

As national unemployment slowly creeps down, the importance of not just job creation but of high-value job creation is taking center stage. Increasingly, regions with low costs of living are still finding that their average wages still fall short of what is necessary to increase overall community prosperity and well-being. This draws even more attention to the essential nature of education and talent development in regions seeking to strategically develop and increase economic opportunity. Building a competitive regional skill set is the top means by which to foster the prosperity from which so many Americans have lost their grip.