The Phaserl


Low-Wage America

by Stephen Lendman,

US workers have little to celebrate this Labor Day weekend or any other one. America is being systematically thirdworldized – represented by weak unions complicit with management or none at all, unable to bargain effectively for higher wages.

Economic recovery is an illusion. A protracted Main Street Depression persists. Poverty is a growth industry. Around 23% of Americans wanting work can’t find it.

Most available jobs are rotten ones – temp or part-time low pay/poor or no benefit service ones with no futures. Conditions are getting worse, not better.

Millions of good jobs were offshored to low-wage countries. Millions more may follow. Many displaced workers remain unemployed longterm. Others finding work take huge wage cuts.

Labor force participation is the lowest in 40 years. A new National Employment Law Project (NELP) report is titled “Low-Wage Occupations See Steepest Drop in Real Wages.”

“Stagnant wages have become a fact of life for nearly all of America’s workers, but workers in lower-paying occupations are finding it especially tough to keep up with the rising cost of living,” NELP executive director Christine Owens explained.

“Not only are their paychecks not growing, but their purchasing power has shrunk considerably, and to a far greater extent than that of higher-wage earners.”

NELP examined median hourly wage changes from 2009 – 2014 for 785 occupations – categorized into five groups with equal weighting.

It found 4% wage declines on average – low and “mid-wage” occupations hardest hit, up to 5.7%. Declines were greatest in restaurant sector jobs. Food preparation workers saw 7.7% lower incomes. For cooks, it was 8.9%.

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