Previous research has found that the majority of the jobs added to the economy since the end of the recession pay low wages. Middle-wage and high-wage jobs haven’t seen nearly the same rate of growth, meaning that the economy has traded comfortable jobs for those that merely allow workers to scrape by.
Private sector companies aren’t the only culprit, however. A recent study by Demos found that tax dollars, through government contracting, health care spending, Small Business Administration loans, federal construction grants, and maintenance on buildings leased by the federal government pay two million workers $12 or less per hour, wages too low to support a family. That figure is more than the number of low-wage workers at Walmart and McDonalds combined.