Class War: More High Paying Jobs But Income Gap Even Wider Since Recession
A new report by the US Census Bureau shows that the middle class has shrunk since the recession and the income gap has widened under the current recovery efforts. Spread across almost every state, hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs were lost and replaced with low-paying jobs but, in some instances, some states saw a large growth in high-paying jobs. While the news is bittersweet, it reflects the realities of the shrinking middle-class and the growing divide between the nation’s rich and poor.
The Census data shows that the economy lost more than 675,000 paying between $35,000 and $99,999 from 2010-12. During that same period, the economy added 119,000 jobs paying $25,000 to $34,999, 416,000 jobs paying $15,000 to $24,999, 181,000 jobs paying $10,000to $14,999, and 250,000 jobs paying less than $10,000.
The growth in low-wage jobs, especially in part-time jobs paying less than $10,000 is alarming. On the other hand, the growth in high-paying jobs shows that some of the middle-class jobs were lost to upward mobility, not merely the explosion of low-wage work.
Between 2010 and 2012, the economy added 768,000 jobs paying $100,000 to $149,999, 552,000 jobs paying $150,000 to $199,999, and 527,000 jobs paying $200,000 or more. That’s great news, considering the tumultuous state of the economy over the last four years but not entirely unexpected considering the recovery efforts put forth by the White House and the Federal Reserve.
The growing number of high-paying jobs is clearly not a problem but the rest of the data is. It illustrates the growing differences between the haves and have-nots. With the mid-wage jobs disappearing, those that unfortunately do not move up are forced to take low-paying work, often paying under $25,000 per year or even $10,000.
While those at the top profit, the poor are stuck with a minimum wage that hasn’t been increased in years and less hours than they need to feed a family. While the top 1 percent of US households saw their incomes increase by 275 percent between 1979 and 2007, the bottom 20 percent only saw an 18 percent increase. Since the recession, the situation has gotten worse with many mid-wage manufacturing jobs moving overseas.