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In the United States, it is generally assumed that people who hold a steady job are able to make ends meet. But, in today’s labor market, where nearly a quarter of jobs pay low wages and do not offer benefi ts such as health insurance and retirement plans, this could not be further from the truth for millions of workers and their families. In fact, most workers do not make ends meet on their wages alone. Even upper- and moderate-wage workers are not “self-suffi cient” in a literal sense, as most receive onthe-job benefi ts, such as employer-provided health insurance or paid sick days, and are eligible for unemployment or disability insurance if they need it.


Published in MassBenchmarks, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 13-19:

This article is based on a report by the same name as part of a multi-state project. The report and more information about the project can be found at


University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute



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