The Huffington Post points to a new analysis of OECD data showing that of 19 advanced countries surveyed, the U.S. has the highest share of workers in low-wage jobs. And we're #1 by a lot:
One in four U.S. employees were low-wage workers in 2009, according to the OECD. That is 20 percent higher than in the number-two country, the United Kingdom. At 4 percent, Belgium has the smallest share of its in employees working in low-wage jobs. Low-wage work is defined as earning less than two-thirds of the country's median hourly wage.
Moreover, low-wage work is not confined to those with low educational qualifications. Nearly half (43.2%) of all low-wage workers now have at least some college education -- a percentage that has nearly doubled in the past 30 years.
So what's behind the poor showing? The author points to several contributing factors:
- The U.S. minimum wage is too low.
- Economic growth doesn't necessarily lift poor people's wages
- Less social spending by the government is correlated with worse wages for poor people
- Low-wage work usually is not a stepping-stone to well-paying jobs
- Working a low-wage job can often create additional problems other than the paltry pay.