Study: “Working poor” increases in Ga. - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Study: “Working poor” increases in Ga.

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

More Georgia families are having trouble making ends meet, even as the unemployment rate and economy improve.

37% of working families in the state are now low-income families.

They're called the working poor.

Noelle Sparks starts her day every morning at 5:30 to get her five children ready for school and daycare.

Then she tackles two jobs to make ends meet only to come home and continue her unofficial third job of being a fulltime mother and working to earn her GED.

"It's hard because I don't get too much rest, but I have to survive and that's the only way I'm going to survive. You have to work at it and you have to work. Nobody is going to give you anything," said Sparks.

Sparks is one of many Georgians classified as the "working poor."

A new study by the Working Poor Families Project ranks Georgia 38th in the country in low-income working families.

"It's very tough. It's very hard raising five children and trying to make it, not knowing if you're going to pay your utility bill. My utility bill was $418 last month," said Sparks.

Darton State College Economics professor Aaron Johnson says the recession and housing market crash decreased many families' wealth causing the number of working poor in Georgia to rise.

"I think it was always going to happen. As we shift into this new type of economy with more efficiencies and more automation, a lot of work doesn't require that middle management. The recession sped that advance," said Johnson.

Johnson says brighter days are ahead as the economy improves, but politics play a role when it comes to regulations and creating jobs.

"Business and industries are waiting to find out what the rules are when it comes to taxes and regulations and so forth. We have a lot of bickering going on in congress and until we know what the rules are, we're not going to see that sort of investment," said Johnson.

As for Sparks, she has a bit of advice for millions of other Americans in her position.

"If you keep forth effort, keep your head on straight and pray, you'll make it," said Sparks.

The gap between the rich and the poor is also growing.

Nationwide, affluent working families now make 10-times more than low-income families.

 

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