Jobs: Economy adding low-wage jobs

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Sure, the economy is adding jobs these days...but most of those positions pay pretty poorly.

Some 58% of the jobs created during the recovery have been low-wage positions, according to a new report by the National Employment Law Project. Only 22% have been mid-wage jobs and 20% higher-wage positions. These low-wage jobs pay $13.83 an hour or less.

"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 explosion in low-wage job growth comes after the Great Recession hammered the mid-wage job sector. Some 60% of the jobs lost during the downturn were mid-wage, as opposed to 21% of low-wage and 19% of higher-wage positions.

The fastest growing low-wage jobs include retail salespeople, food prep workers, laborers and freight workers, waiters and waitresses, personal and home care aides, office clerks and customers representatives.

Employment in low-wage jobs has been expanding since the start of the century, rising 8.7% since the beginning of 2001. Mid-wage employment, meanwhile, dropped 7.3%. High-wage staffing rose by 6.6%.

"The economy has fewer good jobs now than it did at the start of the 21st century," said Bernhardt.

NELP looked at employment trends in 366 occupations between 2008 and 2012. Low-wage jobs had median hourly wages between $7.69 to $13.83, while people in mid-wage positions earned between $13.84 and $21.13. High-wage jobs had a median hourly wage of $21.14 to $54.55.

The NELP study backs up a separate report from the Department of Labor that showed more than half of displaced workers who lost their jobs during the recovery and found new ones were working for lower wages.

Only 46% of these re-employed, full-time workers were earning as much as they did at the jobs they lost. About one-third reported taking a pay cut of 20% or more.

The Labor Department looked at workers who had lost their jobs from 2009 through 2011 because their plant or company moved or closed, there wasn't enough work for them to do or their shift was abolished. They had to have been working at the job for at least three years.

 
™ & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

Read More

Bella: Deceased woman Bella: Deceased woman's will asks for her still-living dog to be buried with her

An Indiana woman who died in November requested in her last will and testament that her dog Bela be buried with her. One problem: Bela is still alive.

Jonathan Warrenfelt, Joshua Zeaya: Facial tattoo, bungled stickup leads cops to robbery suspects Jonathan Warrenfelt, Joshua Zeaya: Facial tattoo, bungled stickup leads cops to robbery suspects

The facial tattoo "Misunderstood" stood out to victims of a robbery at gunpoint in Dania Beach.

Ashley Taylor Wright threw her baby at a deputy at Pensacola Dillards, Okaloosa County police say Ashley Taylor Wright threw her baby at a deputy at Pensacola Dillards, Okaloosa County police say

A Pensacola woman, Ashley Taylor Wright, has been arrested after authorities say they tried arrest her for shoplifting and she threw the baby at a deputy as she tried to escape.

Stephen Amaral robbed while naked swimming woman distracts him Stephen Amaral robbed while naked swimming woman distracts him

A Tennessee man found this out the hard way when a woman dipped in his pool, naked, as her husband robbed his home.

Giant purple chicken stolen in Putnam County, three men charged with grand theft Giant purple chicken stolen in Putnam County, three men charged with grand theft

Putnam County investigators say it was "fowl" play when three young men stole a giant chicken.

Invisible man in Fort Pierce prefers his stolen cigarettes mentholated Invisible man in Fort Pierce prefers his stolen cigarettes mentholated

A man in Fort Pierce said he used his "powers of invisibility" to abscond with a carton of menthol cigarettes, but his conscience appears to have gotten the best of him.

David John Sirko: Suspected burglar left love notes, photos of underwear on head, deputies say David John Sirko: Suspected burglar left love notes, photos of underwear on head, deputies say

A Golden Gate Estates, Florida man was arrested Monday after Collier County sheriff's deputies say he broke into a woman's house, left her love notes and took photos of himself with her underwear on his head.

Randy Zipperer mac and cheese dispute: Florida man accused of stabbing brother after food disapears Randy Zipperer mac and cheese dispute: Florida man accused of stabbing brother after food disapears

Authorities say two Florida brothers got into a tussle over missing macaroni and cheese that ended with one stabbing the other in the stomach.

Walmart wedding: Wayne and Susan Brandenburg get married at Shallotte, North Carolina store Walmart wedding: Wayne and Susan Brandenburg get married at Shallotte, North Carolina store

For years, Wayne Brandenburg shopped at his local Wal-Mart three or four times a week. He never thought he'd pick up a wife, or marry her, there. But that's exactly what happened.

Man jumps on manatees video: YouTube, Facebook video posting investigated by wildlife officials Man jumps on manatees video: YouTube, Facebook video posting investigated by wildlife officials

Video of a man jumping on two manatees prompts legal investigation.