Study: 1.2 Million Fewer Mid-Wage and High-Wage Jobs Since Recession

Barbara Boland
By Barbara Boland | August 20, 2014 | 10:22 AM EDT

There are 1.2 million fewer jobs in mid and high-wage industries now then prior to the recession, with low-wage industries accounting for 41% of job growth the past twelve months through July.

Since the recession, there are 2.3 million more jobs in low-wage industries, according to a new report from the National Employment Law Project.

Real median hourly wages declined by 3.4% from 2009 to 2013, when averaged across all occupations, the report finds. Those with low- and mid-wages experienced sharper wage declines than did those receiving higher-wages.

Image from: NELP


The study finds an uneven recovery - since, while job losses from January 2008 to February 2010 were concentrated in mid- and high-wage occupations, job gains made since then have been concentrated in low-wage industries.

Since July of 2013, medium-wage jobs in industries like manufacturing and textiles accounted for 26% of jobs created, while white-collar jobs accounted for 33% of new jobs.

While it's promising that this past year high-wage job growth is closer to on-par with low-wage jobs, Claire McKenna of NELP says to CNBC: "It's really hard to tell whether or not [that] will continue. There are a lot of other indicators that suggest there's still a lot of market slack."

Those factors include the decline in labor force participation and the continued growth of people forced to work part-time because part-time positions are the only jobs that are available.