Cities Where Having a Job Doesn’t Keep You Out of Poverty

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16. Coeur d’Alene, ID
> Poverty rate of full-time workforce: 3.6%
> Official poverty rate: 12.6% (bottom 30%)
> June 2019 unemployment rate: 3.5% (bottom 50%)
> Avg. workweek: 37.9 hours (bottom 40%)

Situated on the northern shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene, the Coeur d’Alene metro area is one of several resort towns where low-wage jobs keep a relatively large share of full-time workers in poverty. Some 8.8% of the Coeur d’Alene workforce is employed in the leisure and hospitality sector, far more than the 5.5% national figure. The average wage of hospitality workers is just $355 a week, far less than the weekly average wage of $1,101 for workers across all industries nationwide and a poverty wage for a family of three in 2019.

While nationwide, Americans who work full-time, year-round jobs are 4.9 times less likely to be in poverty than the general population, in Coeur d’Alene full-time workers are only 3.5 times less likely to live below the poverty line

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15. Goldsboro, NC
> Poverty rate of full-time workforce: 6.1%
> Official poverty rate: 21.2% (top 10%)
> June 2019 unemployment rate: 4.4% (top 30%)
> Avg. workweek: 39.5 hours (top 20%)

In Goldsboro, just 19.7% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, far less than the 30.9% national college attainment rate. Individuals without a college degree are less likely to have high-paying jobs, and areas with low educational attainment tend to have fewer high-paying industries like information and finance. In Goldsboro, just 0.6% of the workforce is employed in the information sector, a fraction of the 4.5% national share. Some 5.3% of workers are employed in finance, less than half the 11.0% national figure.

The average worker in Goldsboro earns just $720 a week, $381 less than the average earnings for all U.S. workers. An estimated 6.1% of full-time, year-round workers live in poverty, more than twice the 3.0% national working poverty rate.

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14. Alexandria, LA
> Poverty rate of full-time workforce: 5.7%
> Official poverty rate: 19.6% (top 20%)
> June 2019 unemployment rate: 4.7% (top 20%)
> Avg. workweek: 40.1 hours (top 10%)

Two factors contributing to the large share of working poor in Alexandria may be low educational attainment and a lack of advanced, high-paying industry. Just 18.3% of adults in Alexandria have a bachelor’s degree, far less than the 30.9% national college attainment rate. Areas with low educational attainment are less likely to attract advanced, high-wage industries like information and finance. In Alexandria, 1.0% of the workforce is employed in information, far less than the 4.5% national share. Some 5.2% of workers have jobs in the financial activities sector, less than half the 11.0% national figure.

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13. Monroe, LA
> Poverty rate of full-time workforce: 7.1%
> Official poverty rate: 24.2% (top 10%)
> June 2019 unemployment rate: 4.9% (top 20%)
> Avg. workweek: 38.6 hours (top 50%)

Monroe is one of several metro areas in Louisiana with poor economic conditions where having a full-time job does not guarantee living above poverty level. Just 22.8% of adults in Monroe have a bachelor’s degree, far less than the 30.9% national rate. Due to the presence of low-wage industries, the average worker in Monroe earns just $766 a week, $335 less than the U.S. average.

Of the estimated 20,097 adults with a full-time, year-round job in Monroe, 7.1% live in poverty — more than twice the 3.0% national working poverty rate and the fifth highest working poverty rate of any U.S. metro area.