The good news as Labor Day approaches: Jobs are returning. The bad news: Most of them pay lousy wages and provide low, if not nonexistent, benefits.
The trend toward lousy wages began before the Great Recession. According to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute, weak wage growth between 2000 and 2007, combined with wage losses for most workers since then, means that the bottom 60 percent of working Americans are earning less now than 13 years ago.
This is also part of the explanation for why the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line has been increasing even as the economy has started to recover — from 12.3 percent in 2006 to around 14 percent this year. More than 35 million Americans now live below the poverty line.
Many of them have jobs. The problem is that these jobs just don't pay enough to lift their families out of poverty.
But wait a minute. Since 2000, productivity has grown by nearly 25 percent. That means the typical American worker is now producing a quarter more output than he or she did 13 years ago.
So if wages have flattened or declined for the bottom 60 percent, yet productivity has increased, where have the gains gone? Mostly to corporations and the very rich.
All of which gives some context to the strikes in recent weeks at fast-food chain stores, such as McDonald's, where workers are demanding a raise to $15 an hour from their current pay of $8 to $10 an hour. And the demonstrations and walkouts at Walmart stores, whose workers...
- Happy Labor Day, Lousy Wage Jobs Are Back (readersupportednews.org)
- Raising the Minimum Wage Is Good for the Economy (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- American workers deserve a raise (salon.com)
- Fast-food workers call for nationwide walkout Aug. 29 (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- March On Washington Needed For Economic Inequality: Four Talking Points For A New American Dream (forbes.com)
- Mexican Consulate, Labor Dept. Partner On Worker Protection (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- Despite backlogs, VA disability claims processors get bonuses (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)