Public policy should make it easier, not harder, for folks to get ahead. But Alabama’s long-standing failure to invest adequately in education, job training and other services has limited wage growth for everyday workers and has fueled a growing income gap between our richest and poorest residents. And our state’s tragic, painful history on race relations means those structural barriers often place an even greater burden on black and Hispanic residents. Arise researches the hurdles that stand in the way of shared prosperity and advocates for proven policy solutions to expand economic opportunity for everyone.
Too many hard-working Alabamians aren’t paid enough to get ahead. Alabama ranks in the bottom third of states for average hourly wages. Around 77,000 Alabamians earn wages at or below the $7.25 per hour minimum established by the federal government in 2009, and another 394,000 earn less than $10 an hour. In the absence of a [...]
Alabama has enjoyed great success in recent decades in ensuring that children and seniors have the health protection they need, according to a new Arise Citizens’ Policy Project report issued Tuesday as part of The State of Working Alabama 2014. But the state lags behind the nation when it comes to insuring young adults, nearly 30 percent [...]
When the income gap between the rich and everyone else gets too large, the resulting inequality can threaten America’s foundations of fairness, equality and opportunity. Income inequality is deep in Alabama, and it has been getting even deeper in recent decades. Between 1979 and 2007, the top 1 percent of Alabamians saw their incomes grow by [...]
Many Alabama workers may find little reason to celebrate as we approach this Labor Day. The Great Recession is officially over, but the average Alabama worker has not yet recovered from it, as employment and jobs continue to lag behind and wages remain stagnant. Policy analyst Carol Gundlach's new report, part of ACPP's State of Working Alabama [...]
Well after the nation's official recovery from the Great Recession began, Alabama continued to feel the downturn's lingering effects in 2010: lower median household incomes, more poverty and more residents without health insurance. Unemployment has fallen from its 2009 peak, but the state's jobless rate remains above the national average. Higher poverty, fueled by lower incomes [...]
As Alabama recovers from a recession that undercut a wave of record economic growth and employment, workforce development policymakers face a two-fold challenge: getting thousands of Alabamians back to work and gearing up the broader workforce for systemic changes in the economy. This fact sheet offers an overview of skills training programs and related components of Alabama's [...]
Imagine the uproar if football officials suddenly were to declare touchdowns worth six points for one team but only five points for the other. Many workers both in Alabama and nationwide encounter just that sort of shortfall with every paycheck they receive. Despite decades of steady improvement, sizable earnings gaps remain between women and men and [...]
Like this summer's BP oil disaster, the Great Recession started for many Alabamians as something far away and impersonal. Then the disaster hit Alabama, and it hit hard. The resulting devastation was far-reaching, with scars that could last for decades even as things begin to return to normal.
No matter what lies ahead for Alabama's economy, a high school diploma is no longer a ticket for employment. We emphasize this point with students, but we leave underprepared adults in the lurch. And it will require more than just each year's crop of high school graduates to meet the new economy's demands. Effective workforce development [...]
The economic recession took longer to crash the party in Alabama than in many other states. But once it did arrive in late 2008, it made its presence known swiftly and severely. Alabama once boasted a far lower unemployment rate than the national average. Now it has one of the highest. Despite a decade of solid [...]