12-3-2012 http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-...-cause-more-problems-solve-014044384.html?l=1 Low-Wage Jobs Cause More Problems Than They Solve In the wake of strikes by Walmart workers last week and fast food workers in New York City this past Thursday, the issue of low-wage work is slowly becoming more prominent. Analyzing over 100 different data sources, the new study, How Youth Are Put At Risk by Parents' Low-Wage Jobs, estimates that nearly 16 million U.S. families are headed by parents working low-wage jobs and that 1 in 6 adolescents alone live in such households. The Boston College and UMass study shows that parents earning low wages often cannot meet essential expenses, let alone pay for after-school programs, enrichment activities, or services to support the basic health and well-being of their children. It also finds that, since low-wage jobs often have inflexible schedules, parents working in low-wage jobs are often denied time with their children and therefore miss critical opportunities to encourage and support them. These harsh realities of low-wage life have important short and long-term consequences. According to the Boston College study, youth in low-wage families are more likely to drop out of school. They also have a greater chance of having health problems like childhood obesity, and they are more likely to bear children at a young age. Living in a low-wage household also robs children of their youth. As parents work long hours for little pay, children are forced to care for themselves or care for younger sibling. As a result, they take on adult roles early, diverting time and attention from their education, extracurricular activities, and social and personal development. Many people who did not grow up working class often end up shaking their heads at this point. Low-wage work is often judged as low-skill work, and the obvious solution is to get training and to get a better job. But this is much easier said than done in many cases. How do you find the time and money to get training when you are struggling to survive, and when you already have precious little time to spend with your children? Also, how do you find a better job when the economy is not producing one? Estimates show that low-wage work is projected to account for two of every three new jobs in the United States over the next decade. Unless we begin to listen to striking workers and to the research that is piling up, the negative consequences of low-wage employment will be amplified across generations.