One of the "living wages" groups (presumably union backed) has just put out a report about the severe shortage of jobs in Idaho that pay a "living wage". From the December 9, 2010 Idaho State Journal:
The appalling disparities between people and corporations are brought to light by findings in this annual report Job Gap report. The report, which supplies data for all counties in Idaho, calculates a living wage for a variety of family sizes, and then measures how many job openings in Idaho pay that wage.If you live in Seattle, or San Francisco, $75,000 a year to raise a family of four is indeed cutting it pretty tight. But in Idaho? Even in the Boise area, that's actually a pretty decent income for a family of four. Back in very prosperous 2006, median family income in Boise was $58,489--and I suspect that the median family here was not four, but 4.5 or 5. Even in Boise, which is among the more expensive cities in the greater Boise area, you can buy a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house for under $70,000. It may not be the nicest house for that price, but the mortgage on that is going to be about $500 a month (less, if you get an adjustable). Do you really need $75,000 a year to raise a family of four here? I don't think so.
A living wage is a wage that allows a family to meet its basic needs without public assistance and provides it some ability to save money for emergencies and to plan ahead. The report finds that in Idaho a single adult needs to earn $29,642 a year to meet his or her needs. A family of four with two working adults needs $75,372 a year.