Low Wage Jobs Focus of Labor Day
The only thing to be celebrated this Labor Day is the economic and social dislocation of workers, and not the celebration of their contributions. With the United States never having truly come out of the Great Recession, as it is euphemistically referred, the US is coming to terms with a reality of increased low-wage jobs amid decreased overall jobs.
In fact, the sector for low jobs is booming. Some 58% of those jobs that were created during the recovery have been for low-wage jobs, according to the National Employment Law Project. Only 22% of the created jobs during the period were mid-wage jobs and 20% higher-wage. These low-wage jobs pay $13.83 or below. This is a sea change for the US jobs landscape, as surely the increasing amount of low wage jobs amidst inflation will bring industries to the US in the search for cheap labor.
“The recovery continues to be skewed toward low-wage jobs, reinforcing the rise in inequality and America’s deficit of good jobs,” said Annette Bernhardt, NELP’s policy co-director. “While there’s understandably a lot of focus on getting employment back to pre-recession levels, the quality of jobs is rapidly emerging as a second front in the struggling recovery.”
The rise in low-wage job growth comes in the wake of a Great Recession, where 50% of Americans are at or below the poverty line, and after which incomes have fallen. About 60% of the jobs lost, according to CCN, were mid-wage, with 21% being low-wage and 19% being higher-wage positions.
The fastest growing jobs include retail salespeople, food prep workers, laborers and freight workers, waiters and waitresses, personal and home care aides, office clerks and customer representatives. For 12 years, employment in such lines of work as the aforementioned low-wage jobs has been growing, having risen 8.7% since 2001. Mid-wage employment, in the same time period, has fallen 7.3%, while high-wage staffing rose by 6.6%.