Wisconsin is a hard-working state: each age, race, and education demographic works more hours on average than their national counterparts. While Wisconsin’s economy improved in the years following the Great Recession, this economic growth is just now translating into increased well-being for many low-wage workers and their families. Wage growth has been slow for jobs near the bottom of the income distribution and is only just beginning to return to the levels of the early 2000s. Meanwhile, government safety net programs may have been scaled back before low-income workers’ wages could catch up.
“Declining Returns to Low-Wage Work in Wisconsin,” released September 2019, was prepared by Anna Walther. The fact sheet examines how low-wages may be a factor in contributing to poverty and fewer returns to work for residents in Wisconsin.