At the height of the Great Recession, more than 1 in every 10 South Carolinians was out of a job. Today, our state’s unemployment rate is just over 4%, with more than 64,000 jobs open and available. More than 6 million jobs are available throughout the country. If we could fill those jobs with qualified workers, we could cut unemployment down to nearly 1%.
The answer is twofold: First, we have a major “skills gap” in our country, where jobs are available—but skilled workers are not. Second, we have a wage problem. If working wages are so low that people need two jobs just to make ends meet, it doesn’t matter how many jobs we create. Working families will continue to struggle.
The problem is that the gap between the super-rich and working families is greater than it’s been since the Great Depression, with the top 10% controlling 76% of the wealth in America, while the rest of us fight for the crumbs they throw down from their five-star dining tables. Here in South Carolina, wages have remained flat for a generation, and we have more people working for minimum wage or less than 45 other states. Despite steadily decreasing unemployment, per capita income in South Carolina remains well below $30,000, and 1 in 3 jobs here pays less than $25,000 a year.
Families are working 60 and 70 hours a week, yet still can’t afford an average single bedroom apartment—much less the cost of utilities, food, transportation and clothing. Meanwhile, Republicans like Joe Wilson do nothing to help—and everything they can to help their dark money donors and CEO friends.
Annabelle Robertson says enough is enough.
- She will fight for laws that ease the burden on working families, including:
- Raising the Minimum Wage to $15 per hour
- Supporting massive investments in infrastructure and public transportation
- Creating a federal mentorship program focused on high-tech industries
- Directing funding to local governments for small business grants
- Establishing new job training and re-training programs and
- Championing comprehensive tax reform to close special interest loopholes so that everyone pays their fair share.