Report Low unemployment isn’t worth much if the jobs barely pay

Discussion in 'Headline News' started by tom_mai78101, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. tom_mai78101

    tom_mai78101 The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host Staff Member

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    Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its Employment Situation report (better known as the “jobs report”) to outline latest state of the nation’s economy. And with it, of late, have been plenty of positive headlines—with unemployment hovering around 3.5%, a decade of job growth, and recent upticks in wages, the report’s numbers have mostly been good news.

    But those numbers don’t tell the whole story. Are these jobs any good? How much do they pay? Do workers make enough to live on?

    Here, the story is less rosy.

    In a recent analysis, we found that 53 million workers ages 18 to 64—or 44% of all workers—earn barely enough to live on. Their median earnings are $10.22 per hour, and about $18,000 per year. These low-wage workers are concentrated in a relatively small number of occupations, including retail sales, cooks, food and beverage servers, janitors and housekeepers, personal care and service workers (such as child care workers and patient care assistants), and various administrative positions.

    Just how concerning are these figures? Some will say that not all low-wage workers are in dire economic straits or reliant on their earnings to support themselves, and that’s true. But as the following data points show, it would be a mistake to assume that most low-wage workers are young people just getting started, or students, or secondary earners, or otherwise financially secure:

    • Two-thirds (64%) of low-wage workers are in their prime working years of 25 to 54.
    • More than half (57%) work full-time year-round, the customary schedule for employment intended to provide financial security.
    • About half (51%) are primary earners or contribute substantially to family living expenses.
    • Thirty-seven percent have children. Of this group, 23% live below the federal poverty line.
    • Less than half (45%) of low-wage workers ages 18 to 24 are in school or already have a college degree.

    Read more here. (Brookings Institution)
     

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