Dolly Parton and playing with numbers

Working nine to five – what a way to make a living,
Barely getting by, it’s all taking and no giving.
They just use your mind and they never give you credit.
It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it … (Nine to Five, by Dolly Parton)

As she belts out this working class anthem, Dolly Parton goes on to sing that, “There’s a better life and you think about it, don’t you?” Thinking about it, Remapping Debate has created an interactive tool that lets you play with numbers. Plug in your hourly wage, and it tells you where your paycheck ranks. You’ll find out how many people make more, or less, than you do. Some shocking stats from the Remapping Debate article:

  • The percentage of hourly workers making less than $10/hour is higher now than in any year back to 1994. (All numbers are adjusted to 2014 dollars.)
  • In both 1994 and 2013, almost one-third of hourly workers make $10/hour or less.
  • Just over half of all hourly workers make $13 or less per hour.
  • $10 an hour is about $20,000 a year, below the poverty line for a single earner in a four-person family. Heck, it’s barely above the poverty line for a family of three.
  • $13 an hour is about $27,000 — above the poverty line for a family of four, but not really a comfortable living.

Those numbers are all based on someone working the 40 hours a week of 9 to 5 (or 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., or whatever your shift is.) The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies anyone who works 35 or more hours weekly as full-time, so even the sad numbers above are more than many full-time workers make. And then there are the workers who can’t get full-time — more than seven million workers were involuntarily part-time in May. According to BLS, this includes ” those who worked 1 to 34 hours during the reference week for an economic reason such as slack work or unfavorable business conditions, inability to find full-time work, or seasonal declines in demand.” The unemployment figures released today show a second month of 6.3 percent unemployment. That’s a lot better than 2009, but looking behind the figures, there’s a lot of room for improvement — in the number of people employed, availability of full-time work, and wages that can actually support a family.

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2 responses to “Dolly Parton and playing with numbers

  1. Pingback: Multiple choice test for Labor Day | News Day

  2. Pingback: Multiple choice test for Labor Day | News Day

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