State of Working X

Similar to the Economic Policy Institute’s State of Working America, the State of Working XX (SWXX) is a series of reports produced by state EARN groups describing the economic conditions for working families in their state. SWXX reports provide a comprehensive description of state economic conditions, often with a focus on labor market conditions. SWXX reports provide data and analysis on job growth, unemployment, wages, incomes, poverty rates, taxes, wealth, immigration, and other issue areas relevant to current state economic conditions and policy discussions. Many SWXX reports also include tailored and timely policy recommendations for strengthening economic conditions for workers in each state.


The State of Working Washington 2011

The 2000 to 2010 decade was a hard one for America’s and Washington’s working families. While the top fifth gained wealth despite two recessions and sharp stock market swings, for most people the dream of attaining the hallmarks of the American middle class grew further out of reach. Holding a steady job, owning a home, sending the kids to college, affording medical care, saving for a secure retirement, each generation having more opportunity than the previous – these now all seem like relics of the 20th century.

This report reviews the current state of working Washington, including gains and losses in employment by sector and region, trends in income and wages, and changes in the workforce. It considers how unemployment affects the state and describes how increasing poverty levels impact families and communities. It evaluates the issue of economic security: what it means to have a job that provides a living wage and a home; benefits that include health insurance and time off to care for loved ones; access to high quality education, from pre-school through college; and retirement security – in short, the opportunity to work, save, and plan for the future. Finally, it suggests public policies that can begin to rebuild broadly shared prosperity for Washington’s working families.

The State of Working Oklahoma: The Uneven Recovery Leaves Many Behind

By most standards of economic growth, the Oklahoma economy has been doing very well. Gross State Product (GSP) – a measure of the value of all goods and services produced in the state – has shown strong growth. Oklahoma’s unemployment rate has remained below the national rate and total personal income in the state has increased significantly since the 2001 recession. Yet the benefits of the expansion have been unevenly distributed. While the Oklahoma economy is expanding – producing more goods and services – and generating ever greater revenues, the growth is not necessarily translating into greater opportunity and economic well-being for all Oklahomans. Between 2001 and 2005, the median wage in Oklahoma, adjusted for inflation, declined by nearly 1 percent. Median household income declined 4.5 percent over the same period. For most Oklahoma wage earners and their families, the bottom line during this uneven
recovery has been a declining standard of living.

To better understand how the Oklahoma economy can be enjoying a period of overall growth while simultaneously seeing declines in income for the median household, we focus our analysis on four main areas – the general Oklahoma economy, jobs and the labor force, wage and income, and family self-sufficiency.

The State of Working Utah 2005

Recent economic growth has not translated into a substantial improvement in the lives of working Utahns. While Utah has seen growth in jobs, wages and benefits have declined over recent years. Those Utahns at the low and middle of the economic spectrum have been the hardest hit by declining wages and benefits.