In the United States, it has been generally assumed that those who held a steady job could make ends meet but in today’s labor market nothing could be further from the truth. Workers in low-wage jobs can face double jeopardy: insufﬁcient income to cover their basic needs and lack of access to job-related beneﬁts to supplement their earnings. Public work supports — programs to help families ﬁll basic needs such as health care, child care, food, and housing — can ﬁll the gaps, and for many, they do. Still, in Massachusetts close to one out of every four individuals in a family with earnings does not have enough to meet basic personal needs, even with public supports.
Albelda, Randy, "Low-Wage Workers Really Feel the Squeeze" (2008). MassBenchmarks. Vol. 10, No. 2, p. 32: http://scholarworks.umb.edu/econ_faculty_pubs/18
University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute