Status of Working Families in Indiana, 2012
The Status of Working Families in Indiana 2012 is an update to the Status of Working Families in Indiana, 2011 report (2011 Report). The report analyzes the general state of Indiana’s economy as it relates to working families by examining data on poverty, workforce, wages and post-secondary educational attainment. The analysis guides our research and subsequent policy recommendations that follow each chapter. Measuring the economic health of Hoosier families is a central function of the Institute’s mission: to research and promote public policy that provides Hoosier families the ability to achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency.
While the national economy has shown some signs of recovery, the fact remains that for working families, who have been treading water for decades, the impact of the Great Recession is still a lingering reality. Since the 2011 Report: the number of Hoosiers living in poverty reached more than one million; unemployment in Indiana has remained above the national average for nearly a year; low wage jobs and income inequality are both on the rise, and; post-secondary educational attainment continues to present challenges to high-growth job creation.
December of 2012 marked a half-decade since the Great Recession began, and nearly three-and-a-half years since the recovery began. The Institute’s 2011 Report began by reporting on the length of the Great Recession compared to previous recessions since World War II. Preemptively, however, it’s now worth noting that during the same time period, economic expansions have generally lasted 58 months on average – which is April of 2014. Economic expansions since the 1990’s have, however, been longer, lasting 95 months on average – which is June 2015.
In order to better prepare Indiana’s working families for a more secure economic future, state policies and investments that reflect the economic reality of low- and middle-income Hoosiers are more critical than ever. Policy makers should begin to provide a toolbox for families to restore the promise of economic mobility. This toolbox should: reward hard working Hoosiers by ensuring they share in economic growth; strengthen work support programs for our most vulnerable citizens and ultimately; equip all Hoosiers with the opportunity to obtain the skills necessary in order to attract high-paying, quality jobs that are necessary for a family’s economic self-sufficiency.