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March 2004

A family of four with two adults working at minimum wage has to work fulltime, earning at least $12.27 per hour, nearly twice the state minimum wage. The ‘hidden costs,’ or public assistance funding for a family this size is over $23,000 a year.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the types of new jobs coming to San Diego will mostly be low-wage service and retail sector jobs – jobs with median wages that fall below the self-sufficiency wage needed for working families to make ends meet in San Diego.

Considering the types of jobs we are creating in San Diego, the Center on Policy Initiatives found that many of these workers qualify for a variety of public assistance programs, thereby forcing taxpayers to subsidize the cost of bad jobs.

In order to move families out of working poverty and reduce the burden of low-wage jobs on taxpayers, we urge policymakers to expand their efforts to promote a high productivity, economic development strategy that includes living wages & health care benefits; job quality reports; and community involvement in economic development decisions.