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Survey By Thomas P. Miller & Associates Suggests Amid ‘Great Resignation’, Access To Living Wage Jobs Remains A Challenge For Rural Communities

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA – WEBWIRE

On the backdrop of a January 2022 Jobs Report that reflects a continuation of America’s workforce crisis, a ‘Great Resignation’ which endures to afflict American small to medium to nation-spanning businesses, a newly-launched study, entitled, ‘The Prosperity Through Equity Survey’ issued by Thomas P. Miller and Associates (’TPMA’), a national workforce and economic development consulting firm, aimed at garnering actionable intelligence and insight from rural communities across the country, highlights just how badly that crisis has been exacerbated outside of densely populated cities and urban communities.
Roughly 4.3 million quit their jobs in December around the U.S., amid the otherwise-labelled ‘Big Quit’ at a rate of 2.9%, according to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This has since been compounded by the 8.8 million workers whom in January of 2022 reported not being on the job because they were sick with COVID-19 themselves or were caring for someone who was.
However, the lack of access to living wage jobs has been a scenario long-afflicting rural communities particularly across America, nonetheless intensified by the pandemic; the TPMA ‘Prosperity Through Equity Survey’ reports that 74% of those polled from rural communities list access to living-wage jobs as one of the most important needs to improving their quality of life to-date. Meanwhile, only 29% believe there is access to jobs that pay living wages in their community at present.
One of the goals behind conducting the Prosperity Through Equity Survey, according to Thomas P. Miller & Associates, which surveyed economic development, education, and workforce leaders of rural communities across the country, was no doubt to leverage the data and feedback garnered in order to understand how rural towns may be affected by large-scale, exogenous shocks such as COVID-19.
According to the survey, the lack of access to living wage jobs was the second-most pressing concern for rural communities, only behind the need for affordable, quality housing. Access to living-wage jobs was further ranked as the fifth-least accessible necessity of the dozen considered vital for every community to thrive.
Six out of every ten respondents suggested that the lack of access of living wage jobs is due to such jobs being largely unavailable - As American Progress points out, many of America’s would-be-defined rural states are “right-to-work” states, a scenario which can correspond to lower wages. Thus, even if new jobs are introduced in these communities, they often do not provide either wages or benefits that stack up to the modern costs of living. Whether the policy itself is responsible for lower wages is debatable, but as rural communities struggle to retain talent rethinking existing policies which might negatively impact wages is certainly a good place to start, Thomas P. Miller & Associates suggests.
“It is no surprise that employers and leaders in rural communities are reporting heightened socioeconomic fallout as a result of the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, and the increased deficit of living wage jobs,” remarked Andrea Adkins-Hutchings, Thomas P. Miller & Associates Chief Operating Officer (COO). “Without the infrastructure necessary to address relief benefits, without access to living wage jobs, disparity becomes not only the norm but a force multiplier in future – For example, healthcare workers make up purportedly the second-most likely profession to assess resignation, on par with those in the hospitality and food service industries. Scarcities in living-wage oriented employment opportunity will create more scarcities, as employees are forced to look for work elsewhere, commuting out of their neighborhoods, thus creating even more shortages.”
“When good intent at the Federal level is not met with the private and public sector support to see it through, Statewide or municipally, the vicious cycle of rural communities floundering under the pressures of living wage employment disparity is forced to perpetuate,” she concluded.
Understanding the significance of the ’Prosperity Through Equity’ Survey’s findings, on offer as a pro bono public service to the policy-making community and to private sector stakeholders, TPMA plans to carry out the Survey annually in future.
More information about the Prosperity Through Equity Survey can be found here.
About Thomas P. Miller & Associates
For over 30 years, Thomas P. Miller & Associates (TPMA) has empowered organizations and communities to reach their goals through strategic planning and partnerships that create positive sustainable change. For more information, please visit Thomas P. Miller & Associates (


 Living Wage Jobs
 Great Resignation

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