A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that while a small fraction of people live in poverty for more than a year, a large percentage of people experience poverty for shorter time periods. According to the report, nearly one third of the U.S. population — 31.6 percent — fell below the official poverty line for at least two months between 2009 and 2011, while 3.5 percent of the U.S. population remained poor for that entire period.
It’s clear that more needs to be done to help Americans get back on their feet and the retail sector is a good place to start. According to the Department of Labor, the retail sector continues to play a major role in the U.S. economy—adding 55,000 jobs in December and an average of 32,000 jobs per month in 2013—but most of these jobs are low-wage or part-time positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in the retail industry typically make about $25,000 per year, which is a far cry from the nation’s average annual pay of $45,790.
As our country observes the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s anti-poverty campaign, the Retail Justice Alliance looks forward to another year of standing with retail workers across the country as they take the lead in the new war on poverty.