Tags: manufacturing | workers | low | wages

Study: Manufacturing Workers Endure Low Wages

By    |   Friday, 21 November 2014 11:11 AM

The latest employment data drew enthusiasm from many economists, with non-farm payrolls rising more than 200,000 for the last nine months, the longest such streak since 1995.

But things don't look so great beneath the surface, especially for manufacturing workers.

"While in the past, manufacturing workers earned a wage significantly higher than the U.S. average, by 2013 the average factory worker made 7.7 percent below the median wage for all occupations," according to a new study from the National Employment Law Project.

Manufacturing workers' real wages dropped 4.4 percent in the 10 years through 2013, nearly three times faster than for workers overall, although manufacturing in the U.S. increased 4.3 percent between 2010 and 2012.

The mean hourly wage of the more than 6 million manufacturing workers was $17.11 in 2013, while the median wage was $15.66. In real terms, since 2003, the inflation-adjusted median hourly wage for manufacturing workers has declined by nearly $1.00 an hour, from $16.38 to $15.66 (in 2013 dollars).

However, more than 600,000 manufacturing workers made just $9.60 per hour or less and more than 1.5 million manufacturing workers made $11.91 an hour or less.

Meanwhile, a new Gallup poll shows that 30 percent of Americans believe now is "a good time to find a quality job," matching the average since August.

That's a vast improvement from 8 percent in November 2011, but it's a far cry from 48 percent in January 2007 before the financial crisis began. That level was the highest since the survey started in 2001.

"Although the unemployment rate and quality job measure are not perfectly correlated, the data suggest perceptions of the job market may improve further once the unemployment rate dips into the mid-5 percent range, and may surpass 40 percent believing it is a good time to find a quality job when the unemployment rate drops below 5 percent," writes Gallup's Jeffrey Jones.

The unemployment rate dropped to a six-year low of 5.8 percent in October.

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The latest employment data drew enthusiasm from many economists, with non-farm payrolls rising more than 200,000 for the last nine months, the longest such streak since 1995.
manufacturing, workers, low, wages
329
2014-11-21
Friday, 21 November 2014 11:11 AM
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