I'm writing about a how some companies lower their wages to the point where the employees cannot live off it. This is what I've got "As the mine's wages plummet to______" I feel like there is a singular word for it. If not, are there any better ways for saying it?

  • They do. I just need a word that just means the amount given is "unworkable". Like impossible to live off.
    – Grace
    Feb 28, 2016 at 5:58

2 Answers 2


Subsistence may convey the idea:

  • The action or fact of maintaining or supporting oneself at a minimum level:
    • the minimum income needed for subsistence (ODO)

You may say: As wages plummet below subsistence, ...

  • Although, for me, I would write that as, "As wages plummet below subsistence levels..."
    – Jim
    Feb 28, 2016 at 17:15

It is not a single word, but one of the most idiomatic expressions that financial newspapers and magazines use is

below the poverty threshold (line / level)

Your example:

As the mine's wages plummet below the poverty threshold...

Poverty threshold means:

the minimum level of income deemed adequate in a particular country. In practice, like the definition of poverty, the official or common understanding of the poverty line is significantly higher in developed countries than in developing countries.


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