The JUST Report: America’s Workers May Be In Greater Financial Pain Than You Think

A young hispanic man delivering packages in a residential neighborhood.

With the price of everything from gas to food remaining stubbornly high – February’s Consumer Price Index numbers released earlier this week showed inflation actually speeding up slightly – workers struggling to make ends meet seem set for further economic pain. 

There may be more people in this boat than you think. New analysis co-produced by JUST Capital and Revelio Labs, a workforce intelligence company that we routinely partner with,

found that just over 36% of all U.S.-based Russell 1000 workers are not making a family-sustaining living wage. That means about 6.1 million full-time workers at big publicly-traded corporations do not make enough in the counties where they live (a living wage is location-dependent) to support a family, assuming another full-time working adult and two children. Almost 20% do not earn enough to meet their own basic needs, meaning, a living wage for one full-time employee without dependents.

Solving for every American to get by, and get ahead, is obviously a complex issue with multiple interrelated causes and many (often contested) potential solutions. One thing we know for sure though, is that big employers can make a difference. Increasing wages is part of it, and over the years we’ve engaged hundreds of companies that have done just that. But it’s not the only solution. Lowering the cost of benefits; providing pathways for stock ownership and profit sharing; helping employees with credit support and loan facilities; advancing financial literacy and management skills; even engaging workers on the issue, can all help.   

This is what the companies in our Worker Financial Wellness Initiative are focused on, and how many of the companies we rate highly on Workers in our rankings (firms like Cigna, Dayforce, and Ally Financial, for example) approach the problem. There’s also a powerful business case. Our Workers Index, which tracks market performance of our top performing companies on Worker issues overall has outperformed the Russell 1000 by 14.1% over the period from Dec 31 2021-July March 11 2024.

Be well,


Quote of the Week 

“We want to be a company that attracts top talent to build long-term careers. We do this by not only helping our employees grow professionally, but also supporting their well-being. The Worker Financial Wellness Initiative will cement us as a benefits leader and help us continue to enhance our programs and resources.”

  • Pedro Azagra, Avangrid CEO to JUST Capital, on joining The Worker Financial Wellness Initiative 

JUST In the News

In a new analysis with Revelio Labs, JUST reports that 36% of Russell 1000 workers don’t make a family-sustaining wage. 


The Washington Post reports that thanks to the AI boom and the push for more clean-tech across the country, our electric grid is being stressed further than it has ever been, and regulators are looking for ways to increase power and improve our aging grid. 

According to Fortune, after being out of the public eye for several months, a photo of Kate Middleton with her family is raising eyebrows for potentially being fabricated by AI, bringing more concern to the power of the technology and those using it. 


Boeing is overhauling their pay structure following the safety failures around their 737 Max planes, tying more of their employee and executive incentive pay to safety. Meanwhile, a major story this week is that John Barnett, the whistleblower who was first to raise safety concerns with these aircrafts, was found dead the day after he testified in a deposition, NPR reports. 

Business Insider reports that starting April 1, restaurant chains that have at least 60 restaurants nationally will be required to pay workers in California at least $20 an hour — 25% higher than the state’s general minimum wage. The question on everyone’s mind:  Will local mom & pop coffee shops and eateries also have to raise prices to compete, and will they be able to? 

The Tik Tok ban bill has officially passed the House vote and now goes to the Senate. The Washington Post has the story. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that Dollar Tree will be eliminating 1,000 stores nationwide thanks to rising inflation, store theft, and merger woes. 

In only a few short days since its announcement, the SEC’s landmark climate rule already faces litigation from across the political spectrum. The Verge has the details. 

The anti-poverty nonprofit Oxfam America, the nonpartisan Pre-Distribution Initiative, and the philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network publish a new report on how investors can foster a more inclusive form of capitalism.  

Chart of the Week 

This snapshot of a longer chart from our media partner CNBC details which goods and services saw the most price hikes. As JUST’s Martin Whittaker discusses above, consumers are grappling with higher costs on everything from care insurance to childcare, a harsh reality for many workers as our recent report with Revelio Labs finds that over one third of Russell 1000 workers do not make a family-sustaining living wage. Explore the full chart here and the report here

Have questions about our research and rankings?  We want to hear from you!