Although six in 10 jobs lost during the Great Recession paid mid-level wages, the majority of new jobs created in the recovery — positions such as store clerks, laborers and home healthcare aides — pay much less, according to a new study.
The findings highlight concerns about a shrinking middle class and pose another obstacle to getting the economy back on track, said Annette Bernhardt, policy co-director at the National Employment Law Project, which conducted the study.
“The recovery continues to be skewed toward low-wage jobs, reinforcing the rise in inequality and America’s deficit of good jobs,” she said. “While there’s understandably a lot of focus on getting employment back to pre-recession levels, the quality of jobs is rapidly emerging as a second front in the struggling recovery.”
Lower-paying jobs, with median hourly wages from $7.69 to $13.83, accounted for just 21% of the job losses during the recession. But they’ve made up about 58% of the job growth from the end of the recession in late 2009 through early 2012.
Those jobs have been concentrated in three industries: food services, retail and employment services, such as office clerks and customer service representatives, the study found.