Low-Paying Jobs on the Rise

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

With the unemployment rate over nine percent, many people are being forced to do just about any job, even if that means taking a serious cut in pay. This is part of a trend toward growth in low-skilled and low-wage jobs, according to a new study by the National Employment Law Project, which found that job expansion so far has been skewed toward industries whose median wages fall below $15 an hour. Some fear it is a trend that is likely to continue, even as the economy improves.

We speak with Annette Bernhardt, a policy co-director for the National Employment Law Project and with Chelsea Nelson, who once worked as a secretary but now works as a waitress at a truck stop to help make ends meet.


Annette Bernhardt and Chelsea Nelson

Produced by:

Karin Kamp

Comments [6]

charlie from ontario

every time you buy at discount chain stores you support cheap overseas labor ,support the local jobs buy north American made products.

Jan. 14 2011 05:25 PM
Thomas N. from TX

As a 21 year old male right out of college with a 3.72 GPA I can't get a job. I've been trying since May to get a new job but I'm in the same work I was doing since January. Which isn't too bad, but it's seasonal work and this is the off-season so I get $10 an hour about about 15 hours a week. When I was allowed to stay I jumped on it just so I could have a job and didn't have to rely on my parents as much anymore. I have to start paying off student loans in a few months. There just doesn't seem to be any a way for me to be hired by anyone else.

Sep. 01 2010 03:33 PM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

What your guest is talking about with regards to no benefits, short-term work, casual employment, etc., is called "flexible" labor.

All of the deprivations of the race to the bottom - without an adequate, 21st Century safety net - pains the vast majority of workers, lowers overall wages and puts workers at the mercy of their employers to a greater degree.

Sep. 01 2010 09:38 AM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

People still don't seem to realize that the economic collapse in 2008 sped up a structural process of globalization that many have called the "race to the bottom" where corporate money seeks out pools of low-wage employment around the world, not just in the USA.

This has been occurring for at least 30+ years and has been something that academia, labor, and activists have been discussing and trying to draw attention to for all of that time.

Sep. 01 2010 09:28 AM
John from New England

At the present moment I am contemplating a job offer of $37k after negotiating up from $30k. My previous job was $50k. I am grateful for the offer but feel like (at this stage of my career) I should be considering a higher salary rather than a lower one.

Sep. 01 2010 09:24 AM
Patricia from Forest Hills

I've been in a temp assignment for the past 2 months, gratefully. It's a terrific assignment, but a 20% less than what I was making 3 years ago.

Sep. 01 2010 08:31 AM

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