WASHINGTON ‚?? Although six in 10 jobs lost during the Great Recession paid mid-level wages, the majority of new jobs created in the recovery ‚?? positions such as store clerks, laborers and home health care aides ‚?? pay much less, according to a new study.
The findings highlight concerns about a shrinking middle class and pose another obstacle to getting the economy back on track, said Annette Bernhardt, policy co-director at the National Employment Law Project, which conducted the study.
"The recovery continues to be skewed toward low-wage jobs, reinforcing the rise in inequality and America‚??s deficit of good jobs," she said. "While there‚??s understandably a lot of focus on getting employment back to pre-recession levels, the quality of jobs is rapidly emerging as a second front in the struggling recovery."
Lower-paying jobs, with median hourly wages from $7.69 to $13.83, accounted for just 21 percent of the job losses during the recession. But they‚??ve made up about 58 percent of the job growth from the end of the recession in late 2009 through early 2012.
Those jobs have been concentrated in three industries: food services, retail and employment services, such as office clerks and customer service representatives, the study found.
In contrast, mid-wage occupations with median hourly wages from $13.84 to $21.13 -- jobs such as construction workers, real estate brokers and data-entry clerks -- have accounted for just 22 percent of the new jobs in the recovery after making up 60 percent of the job losses in the recession.
Higher-wage occupations, with median hourly pay above $21.13 accounted for about 19 percent of the recession job losses and have made up about 20 percent of the jobs gained in the recovery, the study said.
The study covered jobs created from the first quarter of 2010 through the first quarter of 2012.
Those jobs have been concentrated in three industries: food services, retail and employment services.