Each month the Adult and Family Services Division (AFS) of the Oregon Department of Human Resources publishes data on Oregon’s public assistance system. Welfare Data highlights some of these periodic statistics to present a clearer picture of the state’s performance
|Job Placements are Down.
|Job placements from the JOBS Program fell in January to 1,118 (791 full-time, 327 part-time), the lowest level since February 1995.
This is the third year in a row that January’s job placements lagged behind December’s. Prior to federal welfare reform (August 1996), January’s job placements repeatedly exceeded December’s. Post-holiday season job placements were higher before AFS adopted its “work first” model.
The average number of job placements this fiscal year (July 1998 through January 1999) lag 9 percent behind the average monthly placements for the same seven months of last fiscal year.
|JOBS Program places lower percent of participants in employment.
|Job placements as a percent of JOBS participants declined by one-third in January. Only 5.4 percent of JOBS participants found employment in January. For the first six months of the fiscal year (July 1998 through December 1998), an average of 8.1 percent of JOBS participants found employment. In fiscal year 1997-98, 8.1 percent of JOBS participants found employment.
|Average starting wage declines slightly; upturn expected.
|The average starting wage for full-time job placements in the quarter ending September, 1998, was $7.05 per hour. This was down from $7.08 the previous quarter. Over one-half the jobs were at minimum wage (38 percent) or within one-dollar of minimum wage (20 percent). The average starting wage is expected to increase for the last quarter of 1998 and the first quarter of 1999 due to the January 1, 1999, minimum wage increase from $6.00 to $6.50 per hour.
|Many welfare recipients find only part-time employment.
|Almost one-third of the job placements were in part-time employment (327 out of 1,118). Part-time employment is rarely adequate to lift a family out of poverty.
|JOBS Plus continues to have virtually no impact on caseload decline or employment.
|JOBS Plus remains a small component of the state’s JOBS Program accounting for less than 7 percent of applicants and clients finding employment (71 out of 1,118). The JOBS Program, not JOBS Plus, is responsible for over 93 percent of the employment placements.
|Few single parent families on welfare work.
|Less than 7 percent of the single parent families on public assistance had any earnings from employment. With the minimum wage increase on January 1, 1999, fewer working families are eligible for cash assistance.
|Child support collection efforts decline.
|The state’s efforts to establish paternity to begin the process of collecting child support declined by 15 percent from the previous year.
The amount collected in child support declined by $500,000 from the previous year.
|Child day care program helps fewer working families despite welfare caseload decline.
|Fewer families are enrolled in the state’s child care subsidy program, Employment Related Day Care (ERDC). January’s decline was typical, but the average number of families receiving ERDC each month in FY 98-99 still lags behind the monthly average of the previous fiscal year.
This decline may not be seasonal: the average monthly enrollment for the first seven months of this biennium (July 1998 through January 1999) also lags behind the average monthly enrollment for the same seven month period of the previous fiscal year. With the cash assistance caseload down by over 10 percent from the previous fiscal year, there should be more families enrolled in the child care subsidy program, not fewer.