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Southern Business Leadership Council

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Eligibility Process Improvement Center

2004 Chartbook of Major Indicators

 

Knowledge — Leadership — Action

A Profile of the Southern Economy: Living Standards, Economic Structure, and Lower Income Workers was prepared for the Southern Institute on Children and Families by the Division of Research at the University of South Carolina Moore School of Business. Broad economic indicators generally portray the Southern economy as vibrant and fast growing. According to measures such as employment growth, personal income growth, and unemployment rates, the Southern region does perform very well. Yet, these broad economic indicators do not tell the whole story. Behind this record of rapid economic growth lies other statistics that portray the South as being last in the nation in terms of many different measures of living standards.

The purpose of the executive summary is to synthesize many different types of data to uncover what the statistics have to say about the Southern economy. The emphasis is on exploring the underlying factors explaining the South’s lower level of living standards, developing a profile of lower income workers in the South, and considering long-term structural changes in the economy that will affect the future for the Southern economy and its lower income population.

The goal of the full report is to represent one distillation of the available data for the purpose of providing a profile of an economy that has made gains, but in which a large portion of the population continues to face obstacles in improving material well-being.

Struggling to Make Ends Meet: Low-Wage Work in America is a study released in September by Corporate Voices for Working Families, a non-partisan, non-profit corporate membership organization created to bring the private sector voice into the public dialogue on issues affecting working families. Findings from the report indicate there is a widespread concern over the worsening problem of low-wage work, and that the general voting public and low-wage workers believe it is critical that corporations and government work to improve the low-wage crisis – particularly focusing on creating jobs that can support families and for employers to provide better benefits and job skills training. To access the executive summary of the report, click here and you will be taken to the Corporate Voices for Working Families Web site.

Banking the Poor: Policies to Bring Low-Income Americans Into the Financial Mainstream is a paper prepared for the Brookings Institution, which calls for the transformation of financial services for the poor. Better access to financial services is critical for low-income persons seeking to enter the economic mainstream. Click here to download a PDF version of this paper.

Making Ends Meet: Six Programs That Help Working Families and Employers was developed in 2002 by the Center for Law and Social Policy as a guide for business leaders and policymakers. The report provides general back-ground on six work support programs: the Earned Income Tax Credit, child care, Food Stamps, health care, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and child support. For each work support, the report offers a brief overview description of the program, information about how it helps promote family financial security and employment retention and evidence about barriers to participation among eligible workers. Click here to download a PDF version of this paper.

Unrealized Gains: How Workforce Organizations Can Put Money in the Pockets of Low-Wage Workers: Social policy continues to emphasize the importance of work, but many working families struggle to make ends meet. Work supports can be a critical factor in enabling people to make a successful transition to employment. Packed with tools and resources, Unrealized Gains will help practitioners make use of work supports: laying the groundwork with a financial literacy curriculum, creating income packages, promoting access to work supports through advocacy and keeping graduates on track with a variety of retention strategies. Readers will come away with a concrete plan for addressing their participants’ economic security. You may order a copy of the publication from Public/Private Ventures for $10.00 or download A PDF version free from their Web site by clicking here.


 

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