The UB Regional Institute

A unit of the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning

Research

Inaugurated as an ongoing series in August 2006, Regional Institute Policy Briefs provide objective data and succinct analysis in an illustrated format to frame issues, inform decisions and guide policy action. The series has addressed such issues as the exodus of young from the region, air quality, public transportation, the cross-border economy and rural demographic change.

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Playing an Insecure Hand: Low-Wage Workers in the New Economy - February 2010

For a growing number of families and workers in Western New York, low-wage work is the only—or the last—employment option. In 2009, one out of four jobs in the region were in occupations where the median annual wage fell below the poverty line for a family of four. This rising reliance on low-wage work is a discouraging change from the post-war economic boom when incomes and standards of living soared—a period that continues to shape our employment and lifestyle expectations. Actions by an array of individuals and groups— unbound by ideology—are essential for alleviating regional economic insecurity.