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The Wage-Impaired Recovery and The Middle-Class Squeeze

The chart below, courtesy of Bloomberg Briefs, helps illustrate why the recovery   from the Great Recession has thus far failed to materially improve the financial situation for the majority of Americans. Over 60% of the job losses due to the Great Recession were in mid-wage occupations and the vast majority of the job growth to this point has been in lower-wage occupations.

It is important to note that, though the proportion of losses and recovery (represented by the blue and red bars) both total 100%, the  actual number of jobs lost is a much larger number (-8.67 Million according to Bureau of Labor and Statistics) than the number of jobs gained (+5.295 Million). All totaled together, the net effect of jobs lost and gained throughout the recession and recovery is  a net loss of 3.374 Million jobs through the end of 2012.

So not only are there fewer jobs to be had now than before the recession started, but the jobs that have been had are at lower-wage levels. This greatly impacts the income and balance sheets of middle- and lower-income Americans and has translated into a very tepid recovery for most Americans on "Main Street." 

Written By: Joshua Ungerecht

Employment, Great Recession, Job Gains, Job Losses, Lower-Wage Occupations, Mid-Wage Occupations, Recovery