A report by a union-backed research group has come under fire for its presentation of jobs and poverty data in Wisconsin.
The Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS), a union-backed group based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, found that one in four Wisconsin employees’ works in a “poverty wage” job that wouldn’t support a family of four.
However, Michael Saltsman, a research director at the conservative Employment Policies Institute (EPI) wrote in the Green Bay Press Gazette that the study is full of misleading information that exaggerates their poverty findings.
The study reached its conclusion by calculating the hourly wage ($11.36) that it takes to keep a family of four out of poverty, but the vast majority of Wisconsin residents don’t live in a household with four people.
According to Saltsman, data from the Census Bureau show that almost two-thirds of the state either lives by themselves or with one other person.
Saltsman also found that the study itself was very selective on information and contained only data that supported its intended outcome. Of the 700,000 Wisconsin workers who earn less than $11.36 an hour, 414,000 are between the ages of 16 and 24, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
It is not implausible for children and young adults to earn such low wages.
Additionally, the average family income in Wisconsin of an employee earning between $7.25 and $10.10 (the new minimum wage that COWS supports) is $58,812. That’s because many of these lower wage employees are not the primary income earners in their home.
Saltsman argues that raising the minimum wage like the study suggests will do little to actually address the problem since roughly 60 percent of the poor are not employed according to the Census Bureau. So any raise in wages won’t help those who are not earning a wage and thus a different solution to the problem must be sought.
Saltsman cites economists at the University of California-Irvine and the Federal Reserve Board, among other research, when concluding that raising the minimum wage may even result in job losses.
The Daily Caller News Foundation was unable to reach COWS for comment.
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