Feel like you can never get ahead of your bills? If you’re in a family with a stay-at-home mom, your gut feeling may be right.
A new report from the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, “Women and the Economy 2010,” finds that married couples with a working wife saw income grow by 1.12 percent per year above inflation, on average, between 1983 and 2008.
That’s not much of a gain, but consider this: According to calculations by the Joint Economic Committee, families where the wife stayed home actually saw their annual incomes decrease by 0.22 percent each year on average, when including the impact of inflation.
Again, that’s not much of a decline, but it’s definitely worse than what you’d like to see – an income on the rise.
The report puts it bluntly: “Families need a working wife in order to see their incomes grow.”
The fact is, many more moms are in the work force now than a generation ago. According to the report, 78 percent of moms with kids ages 6 to 17 were in the work force in 2008, compared with 68 percent in 1984. In addition, 64 percent of moms with kids under age 6 were working in 2008, compared with 52 percent in 1984.
In 2009, the report found that 66 percent of employed moms with kids under 18 years old were married in household where both parents work. The other 34 percent were the families’ sole breadwinner, in most cases because they were single parents.
Women now make up around half the work force, although that’s partly because so many men have lost their jobs in the past few years.
The Great Recession that began in December 2007 has taken the hardest toll on traditionally male-dominated industries such as construction and manufacturing, and jobs continue to be scarce in virtually every field. The Labor Department reported Thursday that new jobless claims fell sharply last week but remain much higher than they would be in a healthy economy.
Do you feel like your family can never get ahead of the bills? Why?