A Low Wage Jobs Explosion. Feel The Struggle!

A Low Wage Jobs Explosion by Tami Luhby, @CNNMoney August 31, 2012.    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.

Related: America’s Workers: A Year of Ups and Downs

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.

First Published: August 31, 2012: 12:26 PM ET on http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2012/08/22/n-low-wages-welfare-bronx.cnnmoney/  

If you’re here and have read this article, please leave a comment below and let me know what you think. This article is near and dear to me as I hope it will help and inspire others.





  1. says

    This article struck a cord in me. When we read statistics it is so important to look between the lines and find out what is really going on. Increased low paying job opportunities can be okay for new graduates from high school or college who are seeking some experience. But for anyone with full responsibility to pay basic bills such as rent, electric, transportation, food and healthcare, a low paying job may not be enough.


    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted…If 30 is Old, then what is 60?My Profile

    • says

      So right Dr. Erica. The people in the video were young and its hard on the young too, but for those of us carrying college tuition, mortgages, etc., this low wage job explosion can be brutal. For this reason, more and more people, especially middle aged are heading toward entrepreneurship. Many are finding their way through this medium.

      Barbara Charles recently posted…A Low Wage Jobs Explosion. Feel The Struggle!My Profile

  2. says

    Hi Barbara,
    It is tough for so many people, especially those who have strong skills to either be paid less for their skills or to find themselves unable to find anything in their field. In Florida, it is worse because many people are stuck in homes that are underwater and therefore have a tough time relocating to take a job which might pay better.
    Kristen recently posted…Everything Is Falling ApartMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Kristen. I hear things are tough in Florida. My girlfriend moved their about 3 years ago and although she loves it there she says the job situation is rough. All we can do it hope things get better and educate people abouyt entrepreneurship as a way to help either supplement or replace their incomes. It’s an option. Thanks for sharing.
      Barbara Charles recently posted…A Low Wage Jobs Explosion. Feel The Struggle!My Profile

  3. says

    Hi Barbara!
    i read your blog and thought that if the people have a many skill but have to be paid for getting job then it is merciless task.if the people have less skill or less effort then it may be the right thing.so i agree with you Barbara.
    thanks for joining the blog…

  4. says

    A great eye opener Barbara. Thanks for sharing.I lived paycheck to paycheck for many years. I have a child that does it now and he has a good job. He lives in a 1 bedroom apartment with very little in it and he barely makes ends meet because of the low pay from his good job.The cost to live is so high. A great video from you too.

    • says

      Hi Beverly. Thanks Beverly. I don’t think there are many people out there who don’t live paycheck to paycheck, even now. I know I did too in the past. Although that is not the case now, my two oldest are surgical technicians and they struggle the same way. Apartments, food, cars, insurance is so much more expensive and they struggle daily even with good jobs. Hopefully, somehow, there will be some relief soon.
      Barbara Charles recently posted…A Low Wage Jobs Explosion. Feel The Struggle!My Profile

  5. says

    These are scary stats Barbara and I know several people in corporate America that lost their high paying jobs but like me never had an issue finding another one. That is until the economy took a dive and that all halted. They were near impossible to find because like you’re stating right here, the ones you can find can’t support you.

    It’s scary how all of this has come about and it’s a wake up call for many but thank goodness there are opportunities online if people are willing to step outside their comfort zones and learn something new.

    Thank you for sharing this and I enjoyed your video. Great job for your first one and a very important message as well.


    P.S. Just wanted you to know that your Twitter ID is not set up in any of your tweet buttons so you might want to look at that. It’s really important if you want people to share your post.
    Adrienne recently posted…What Kind Of Reputation Are You BuildingMy Profile

  6. says

    Hi Barbara

    Congratulations on your first video and I sure hope there are many more to come. You are a natural on there and your passion for this subject shines through.

    Wow this is such a horrible situation for people to be in. Things are not all good in Australia but even kids at school with part time jobs earn more than $8 an hour.

    Yes there is another way for people and Barbara it is the you and me’s and others here that need to shout it from the roof tops. As you said some people will not take up a new way but at least if we tell them we have done our part.

    Well done Barbara.

    Sue Price recently posted…Passive Income from Affiliate MarketingMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you Sue. Inspiring words. All we can do it put it before them and hope they look, listen and learn. Changing mindset is so hard to do. I know because I struggle with it everyday. I even ask myself do I need to rethink this in a different light before making a decision. If we could only make people see. We can only present it to them and hope they see the way. Thank you so much for your kind words. Take care.

  7. says

    Hi Barbara

    One thing this new economy shift around the world has allowed employers to reduce the workforce at a certain price, then later replace those jobs, or some of them (desperate workers will work harder, so reduce the amount of workers needed) at a lower price.

    Of course, all these savings will mean lower prices in the shops……..

    The only price decreases we see so far is where the goods were overpriced to begin with, and with falling sales they have to slash the price to maintain the sales.

    So what does that mean for us?

    More work, if we can get it, right?

    So where will this extra work come from?

    MLM companies will be the answer for many. And not the life changing opportunities most people think of, but the lifestyle stability earning a few hundred a month will provide.

    Posted By Jon Barry of http://JonBarry.co.uk
    Jon Barry recently posted…PAIN -The No1 Motivator!My Profile

    • says

      Hi Jon. You’re right. Many times, small business home owners many times can use this to supplement their regular lifestyles and income, helping everyone to live a better and more productive life. Thanks for your input.

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