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More Low-Wage Jobs Than Mid- and Higher-Wage Jobs In Recovery

Image: More Low-Wage Jobs Than Mid- and Higher-Wage Jobs In Recovery

Wednesday, 30 Apr 2014 02:15 PM

By Clyde Hughes

The recovery from the 2008 recession has produced more low-wage jobs but mid-wage and higher-wage jobs continue to lag behind, according to an April study by the National Employment Law Project.

The project, based in New York, said it tracked the current recovery by monitoring several factors, including unemployment, wages, and occupational and industry growth patterns.

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"There continues to be an imbalance between the industries where the recession's job losses occurred and the industries experiencing the greatest growth four years into the recovery," the study stated.

While lower-wage industries made up 22 percent of job losses during the recession, they have accounted for 44 percent of employment growth over the past four years, the study found. At the same time, mid-wage industries represented 37 percent of the jobs lost during the recession, but has made up only 26 percent of recent employment growth.

Higher-wage industries made up 41 percent of the recession job losses, but just 30 percent of recent employment growth, the study concluded.

"Today, lower-wage industries employ 1.85 million more workers than at the start of the recession," the study stated. "There are now 958,000 fewer jobs in mid-wage industries than at the start of the recession. There are now 976,000 fewer jobs in higher-wage industries than at the start of the recession."

Jobs in food services, drinking establishments, administrative and support services, and retail trade have led the way in private sector job growth during the recovery.

"These industries, which pay relatively low wages, accounted for 39 percent of the private sector employment increase over the past four years," said the study.

Employers are not motivated currently to raise wages because of the supply of labor with 10.5 million Americans still looking for work, The New York Times said.

The average household take-home pay has decreased from $55,627 in 2007 to $51,017 in 2012, after an inflation adjustment.

Michael Evangelist, the author of the study, told NBC News that without stronger growth, low-wage jobs will continue to outpace higher jobs.

"Low-wage workers are very easy to bring on and very easy to let go," he said. "So you need strong economic growth to boost these mid- and high-wage industries and increase hiring there."

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