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Working Poverty in Michigan, 1998 and 2007: The Roles of Transfers, Labor Market, and Demographic Characteristics

December 2008

Udaya R. Wagle, Western Michigan University

Download 'working_paper08-19.pdf'.


Despite increasing research attention in the recent past, the scale of working poverty and its structures are not fully known. This paper examines working poverty between 1998 and 2007 in the financially struggling state of Michigan offering great policy significance for the entire United States. Findings suggest that working families with low-wage jobs are the hardest hit by the current economic changes even with increasing availability of means-tested public transfers. A largely stable labor market attachment of the working poor indicates that higher minimum wages would hold the labor market accountable to reduce working poverty and free up policy resources to help others in more dire need. An increasingly sporadic concentration of the poverty experience among working families suggests that working poverty can affect a broad range of population.

Economic Development, Employment, Unemployment, and the Labor Market