Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Can low-wage workers find better jobs?
There is growing concern over rising economic inequality, the decline of the middle class, and a polarization of the U.S. workforce. This study examines the extent to which low-wage workers in the United States transition to better jobs, and explores the factors associated with such a move up the job ladder. Using data covering the expansion following the Great Recession (2011-17) and focusing on short-term labor market transitions, we find that around 70 percent of low-wage workers stayed in the same job, 11 percent exited the labor force, 7 percent became unemployed, and 6 percent switched to a different low-wage job. Troublingly, just slightly more than 5 percent of low-wage workers found a better job within a 12-month period. Study results point to the importance of educational attainment in helping low-wage workers move up the job ladder.
Cite this item
Todd M. Gabe & Jaison R. Abel & Richard Florida, Can low-wage workers find better jobs?, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Staff Reports 846, 01 Apr 2018.
- J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
- J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
Keywords: low-wage jobs; career ladder; labor market dynamics
This item with handle RePEc:fip:fednsr:846
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