Study Reveals Concentrated Low-Paying Job Growth

A new report shows not only is the U.S. job recovery slow – but it’s also become bottom-heavy. The study completed by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) shows the job market is growing, but it’s growing the fastest among lower-paying jobs.

According to NELP, lower-wage industries ($9.03 to 12.91 per hour) constituted 23 percent of job loss, but made up 49 percent of recent growth in the last 12 months. Mid-wage industries ($12.92 to 19.04 per hour) constituted 36 percent of job loss and 37 percent of recent growth. Meanwhile, high-wage jobs ($19.05 to 31.40 per hour) made up 40 percent of the job loss, but only 14 percent of recent growth.

“In the private sector, there is a striking imbalance between where the recession’s job losses occurred, and where the growth of the past 12 months was concentrated,” says the report. “These findings suggest that for unemployed workers, as well as those seeking to move up in the labor market or entering for the first time, the current distribution of job opportunities has deteriorated, compared to before the recession.”

Researchers say the current recovery looks worse than the “jobless” recovery of the 2001 recession, but it’s too early to predict whether the imbalance will continue.

Meanwhile a series of eleven infographics in a Mother Jones article provide a clear depiction of the distribution of wealth in America. The well thought out charts show how a huge share of the nation’s economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household, while the average income for the bottom 90 percent is $31,244.

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