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What Economic Recovery? A Good Job is Still Hard to Find

Amy Traub

But for many, even landing a job was not enough to make ends meet: of those 5 million job openings, nearly half paid less than $15 per hour, leaving only 2.7 million that paid $15 or more per hour. And for workers able to secure only part-time employment, wages were even more inadequate: in 2014, more than one in five part-time workers wanted full-time employment but were unable to find it.

The core finding: there are not enough living wage jobs to go around. And women and people of color are especially impacted by low wages and part-time work.

At Demos, we’ve looked closely at two large, low-paying industries – retail and fast food—and we’ve found that continued economic recovery and growth will not be sufficient to produce well-paying employment. The new AJS report reaches the same conclusion, finding that the fastest growing occupations tend to pay low wages and offer part-time, often erratic and unpredictable schedules.