Hiring remains vigorous in the U.S., with the government’s latest job numbers highlighting the ongoing strength of the labor market more than a decade into a record-long economic expansion. Yet that jobs boom conceals a less cheery reality: Most of that work doesn’t pay people much money.
About 55% of the 225,000 private-sector jobs that employers added in January offer low wages, according to the Job Quality Index, a new effort from Cornell University researchers to measure the quality of jobs beyond the quantitative data provided each month by the U.S. Department of Labor.
These jobs typically pay $10 to $15 an hour, which translates to about $400 to $600 in weekly wages — well below the $765 in weekly earnings for most non-government workers.
What the Cornell researchers call “low-quality jobs” are a problem not only for many families, but potentially for the U.S. as a whole. Poorer households may not have much wiggle room in their spending, restraining growth in an economy where roughly two-thirds of activity depends on consumers opening their wallets. The Trump