Home > The Economy > Misdirection in the United States

Misdirection in the United States

from David Ruccio

private employment

The Washington Post tries to put a positive spin on the recent pattern of job growth. However, the underlying study (from the National Employment Law Project [pdf]) offers quite a different view: even though jobs gains have recently accelerated in higher-wage industries, the imbalance of especially pronounced gains at the bottom and slow growth in mid-wage industries persists.

In particular, lower-wage industries accounted for 41 percent of employment growth from July 2013 to July 2014, outpacing both mid-wage industries (26 percent) and higher-wage industries (33 percent).

What that means is, today, lower-wage industries employ 2.3 million more workers than at the start of the recession, while there are now 698,000 fewer jobs in mid-wage industries and  522,000 fewer jobs in higher-wage industries.

occupational wages

And it gets worse: First, averaged across all occupations, real median hourly wages declined by 3.4 percent from 2009 to 2013. And, second, lower- and mid-wage occupations experienced greater declines in their real wages than did higher-wage occupations. While median wages in the two highest quintiles declined by an average of 2.1 and 2.5 percent, respectively, occupations in the bottom three-fifths saw median wage declines of between 3.6 to 4.6 percent.

That’s a lot of ground to make up. And no matter how positive a spin they try to put on it, we’re a long way from having achieved a recovery for most working

  1. August 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm


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