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Survey reveals transportation, childcare, losing government benefits are top concerns of unemployed and underemployed Alabamians

A recent survey of unemployed and underemployed Alabamians showed that transportation, childcare and worry over losing government benefits are considered the main barriers to full employment by Alabama’s unemployed and underemployed citizens.

The survey was commissioned by AlabamaWorks and included responses from 401 unemployed and underemployed Alabamians. AlabamaWorks considers a person underemployed if the individual is “not doing work that makes full use of their skills and abilities.”

Over half of those surveyed said they had lost a potential work opportunity due to lack of transportation, while 47% said they do not have access to public transportation.

The respondents to the survey included 220 individuals who are parents to a child. According to the survey, 64% said a lack of childcare options has caused them to work fewer hours than they otherwise would have.

Over one-third of those answering the survey, 37%, said they “declined or delayed taking a new job or promotion because they were afraid they would lose a government benefit,” according to an AlabamaWorks release.

“Benefit cliffs, which occur when earnings gains are offset by the loss of public benefits, have long been recognized to create financial disincentives for low-income individuals to earn more income or train for higher paying occupations,” said Tim McCartney, chairman of the Alabama Workforce Council.

He added, “Under Governor Ivey’s leadership, Alabama has made abating benefit cliffs central to the state’s strategy for helping people achieve self-sufficiency.”

In regards to the three main concerns listed by the survey, AlabamaWorks relayed that it plans on “pursuing a human capital development strategy that couples workforce training with a continuum of services to assist those who are struggling to overcome these barriers.”

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@new-yhn.local or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.