This is an excerpt from the 2014 Hunger in America study, examining Vermont Foodbank client employment status as well as barriers to work. You can read the rest of the report here.

Hunger in America“In analyzing household employment, we focus on the employment status of the household member who was employed the greatest number of months in the past 12 months (the most-employed person). In the Client Survey, the respondent was asked to provide both his or her own employment status, as well as the employment status of another person in the household who worked the greatest number of months. Between the respondent and this other household member, the individual who worked more months out of the year is identified as “the most-employed person.” Employment circumstances were asked only about these two people in the household to ease survey burden on respondents. Because, in some households, such as those with seniors, there may be no persons working, in some cases the “most-employed person” may have not worked at all.

“Employment status for the most-employed person is analyzed because this individual is typically a primary source of income for the household. As such, interruptions in this individual’s employment may profoundly affect the household’s ability to be self-sufficient, potentially increasing their need for charitable food program services.

  • For 60% of client households, the most-employed person worked for pay in the last 12 months.
  • For 43% of client households, the most-employed person worked for pay in the last four weeks.
  • In 57% of client households, the most-employed person is not currently working. In 15 percent of households, this person is actively looking for work.
  • Among client households where the most-employed person is not working and not actively seeking work, 30% are retired, 57% are disabled, in poor health or act as a caretaker for another, while 13% indicate some other reason for not seeking work (see figure 11).

Work and Barriers to Work

“Some households face additional potential barriers to employment. For instance, the adults may serve