Almost half of U.S. workers between ages 18 to 64 are employed in low-wage jobs, the Brookings Institution found. Low-wage jobs are pervasive, representing between one-third to two-thirds of all jobs in the country’s almost 400 metropolitan areas. Smaller cities in the South and West tend to have the highest share, such as Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Jacksonville, North Carolina, where more than 6 in 10 workers are in low-wage work.

America’s unemployment rate is at a half-century low, but it also has a job-quality problem that affects nearly half the population, with a study finding 44% of U.S. workers are employed in low-wage jobs that pay median annual wages of $18,000.

Contrary to popular opinion, these workers aren’t teenagers or young adults just starting

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