Financial Insecurity Lingers for Washington Families

After three dismal years of job loss, employment numbers in Washington are turning up. But recession, loss of high-paying jobs, and the slow recovery have taken a big toll on working families in Washington state and across the nation. The working age population of the state has grown by 280,000 over the past four years, but the economy has created only 10,000 more jobs than in July of 2000. Since 1998, Washington has lost more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs.  Jobs in most of the growing sectors – including retail, health services, leisure and hospitality, and construction – pay far less and are less likely to include benefits than the jobs lost. The damaging effects of economic stagnation and the loss of family wage jobs are clear in higher rates of poverty and lower rates of health insurance coverage. Financial insecurity remains a fact of life for many workers and their families, both in Washington and nationally. Nationwide, there are 1.2 million fewer jobs today than at the beginning of the recession in March 2001, while the working age population has grown by 6.7 million. The strategy pursued by President Bush over the past three years of cutting taxes, particularly for the wealthiest of Americans, has proven to be an ineffective way to stimulate economic growth.

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