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economic justice | labor

THE STORY OF LOW-WAGE WORK

Following World War II, economic growth in the United States meant a shared prosperity as tens of millions of American workers moved into an emerging middle class. Starting in the mid-1970s, however, real wages stopped growing and even declined for certain groups in the labor force. This was a marked reversal from the postwar economic boom. In fact, the fortunes of those in the bottom rungs of the labor market declined drastically. Between 1973 and 1993, the real income of the lowest 20th percent of workers fell nearly 12 percent.
Today, one out of four workers in the United States holds a job that pays less than $8.70 an hour (around $18,100 per year working full-time), which is the official poverty line for a family of four. Most experts estimate that it takes double that amount for families to make ends meet. Although the United States still leads the world in overall prosperity and productivity, the American way of organizing work and rewarding workers no longer provides many hardworking families a piece of the American dream. Click here to read more.

Low-Wage Work: The Big Picture
Eileen Appelbaum - Low-Wage America: How Employers Are Reshaping Opportunity in the Workplace
Tim Bartik - Jobs For the Poor: Can Labor-Demand Policies Help?
Kathryn Edin - Making Ends Meet: How Single Mothers Survive Welfare and Low-Wage Work
David Ellwood - A Working Nation: Workers, Work and Government in the New Economy
Richard Freeman - Working Under Different Rules
Peter Gottschalk - Generating Jobs: How to Increase Demand for Less-Skilled Workers
Alan Krueger - The Roaring Nineties: Can Full Employment Be Sustained?
Frank Levy - The New Dollars and Dreams: American Incomes and Economic Change
Katherine Newman - No Shame in My Game: The Working Poor in the Inner City
Beth Shulman - The Betrayal of Work: How Low-Wage Jobs Fail 30 Million Americans and Their Families
Edward Wolff - Downsizing in America: Reality, Causes and Consequences

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