Monday, April 23, 2012

The US is a low-wage country

Isn't this special. The United States has a higher percentage of workers in low-wage work than any other developed country, according to a new study.

Mark Thoma, reporting for CBS News on the report by the Center for Economic Policy Research, wrote,
...the US leads developed countries in the share of workers earning low wages. The research also shows that increased wage polarization over the last several decades is one of the reasons for the large share of low wage-work in the US.... 
...the share of employees earning low wages has increased from 22 percent in 1979 to 28 percent in 2009. Thus, we have more people at the extremes of the distribution, and fewer in the middle.
The report, written by John Schmitt, also concludes that low-wage work doesn't lead to high-wage work:
Not only are low-wage workers likely to stay in low-wage jobs from one year to the next, they are also more likely than workers in higher-wage jobs to fall into unemployment or to leave the labor force altogether. From 1995 through 2001, for example, about half or more of low-wage workers in Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States remained in low-wage work from one year to the next, and between 8 and 23 percent of low-wage workers left the workforce year-to-year.
Collective bargaining can fix that, you know.