Livable Wage Jobs
The majority of food systems jobs in King County are not family wage jobs.
WHY IT MATTERS
WHAT WE KNOW
- While we aim to grow the food system as an economic sector, data shows that food systems jobs do not necessarily pay well. It will be difficult to build the food systems workforce if wages remain status quo. This is an especially pressing issue in agriculture, as the average age of a farmer in the United States is 58 years and the influx of new and beginning farmers into the workforce low (USDA Census of Agriculture).
- Additionally, wage is an indicator that relates directly to food security and food affordability. Risk of food insecurity is lower when wages are adequate.
- The first overarching goal of the King County Local Food Initiative is to "Expand our local food economy to ensure job growth and economic viability for King County food businesses and farms."
WHAT WE KNOW
- Currently, all twenty six food systems jobs captured here provide a living wage for a single adult in King County. Eighteen of these food systems jobs also pay a living wage for a two parent family of one child in which both parents work 40 hours/week. There are only three jobs (food scientists & technologists, agricultural inspectors, and nutritionists & dieticians) that provide a living wage for a single-parent family in King County.
- This data comes from the Washington State Employment Security Department and is measured by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), so this wage and employment data provides a picture of King and Snohomish counties combined.
- Living wage is estimated using the MIT Living Wage Calculator, which is "a market-based approach that draws upon geographically specific expenditure data related to a family’s likely minimum food, child care, health insurance, housing, transportation, and other basic necessities".