Calculation of Hourly Wage and Job Insufficiency Measures

Job insufficiency and Hourly Wage Sufficiency combine several key concepts to create measures of job quality and income, respectively.  It begins with the expense estimate created for this report as an estimate of the basic cost of living, rather than income required to avoid poverty.  These estimates are used to create two measures which assume that each adult, non-student worker in a family is responsible for an equal share of the family’s expenses.  Any adult, non-student worker earning at least their share of estimated expenses is considered to earn sufficient income, and any adult, non-student worker with high enough hourly wages to cover their estimated expenses through full-time work is considered to have sufficient hourly wages.  Workers who earn sufficient income through sufficient hourly wages are considered to have sufficient jobs, and job insufficiency measures the percent of workers for whom this is not the case.
Workers can have insufficient jobs if they have insufficient income, insufficient hourly wages, or both.  Each of these situations is distinct, as outlined in the chart below.   This chart is described in more detail in the job insufficiency analysis.
Figure 1: Job Quality for Adult Workers Not in School in Forsyth County, 2014
Figure 1 shows four situations that reflect different employment situations with different potential solutions:
  • Workers unable to meet their estimated expenses despite full time work would need higher hourly wages.
  • Workers who meet estimated expenses through more than full time work would need higher hourly wages.
  • Part-time workers with high wages unable to meet estimated expenses would need to be able to work more hours.
  • Workers with low hourly wages who could not meet their expenses with full time work would need higher hourly wages and possibly to be able to work more hours.