Sunday, February 27, 2011

Low-wage jobs lead economic recovery

The U.S.'s economic recovery looks a bit bottom-heavy - it been dominated by the return of lower-wage jobs.

That's the assessment of the National Employment Law Project in a report released last week.

While more than 1 million private-sector jobs were added to the U.S. economy during the past year, they have been concentrated in mid- and low-wage industries, the project concluded.

"This snapshot suggests that the job opportunities currently available to workers have deteriorated compared to what was available before the recession," said Annette Bernhardt, policy co-director for the project. "If these trends continue, the slow recovery combined with imbalanced growth could make it much harder for workers to find family-supporting jobs and pose real obstacles to restoring consumer demand."

A disproportionate share of job growth has been in industries such as temporary employment services, restaurants, retail, and nursing and residential-care facilities, which pay median wages below $13 an hour, the organization reported.

The study also found: Lower-wage industries constituted 23 percent of job loss but 49 percent of recent growth; midwage industries constituted 36 percent of job loss and 37 percent of recent growth; and higher-wage industries constituted 40 percent of job loss but only 14 percent of recent growth.

While it is unclear if these early figures represent a long-term trend, Bernhardt said they "underscore the urgent need

by Jahna Berry The Arizona Republic Feb. 27, 2011 12:00 AM

Low-wage jobs lead economic recovery

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