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September 26 2019

A Strong Economy Benefits Low-Income, Less Educated Workers

by Vicki E. Alger

Lower-income and lower-education workers are benefitting from the current labor market, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s latest Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE).

More workers now anticipate moving to new employers, 11.4 percent in July 2019 compared to 10.3 percent in July 2018. This uptick is most pronounced for workers who are young (under age 45), lower income, and female.  According to The Wall Street Journal:

…the share of lower-income heads of household, defined as earning a household income of $60,000 a year or less, who moved to new jobs in April, May, June or July was 12%, up from 8% in the same period a year earlier and the highest rate for records dating back to 2014. …The lower-income workers had more opportunities: About 4% of lower-income Americans received three job offers in the four months ended in July, up from 1.4% over the same period in 2018…

Moreover, Gizem Kosar and Kyle Smith of the Federal Reserve Bank explain that there is

a significant upward trend in the average salary of full-time workers and …[it] reached its highest level in July 2019, with an average annual full-time salary of $66,936. Moreover, this upward trend has been broad-based across age, education, and income groups.

As The Wall Street Journal adds:

More broadly, workers are benefiting from the longest U.S. economic expansion on record. The unemployment rate among Americans without a high-school diploma has fallen steeply over the past three years, and the rate for black women fell in August to the lowest level on record. Both groups had trailed behind others for much of the expansion, which began in mid-2009. …A crucial factor driving job switching is the prospect for higher wages, as job hoppers tend to see bigger pay bumps than those who stay in their current roles. …another impetus for lower-income households to seek new pastures [is that they] were less satisfied with their current job promotion opportunities this year compared with last.

These findings indicate that a strong economy benefits workers—particularly those who have lower incomes and less education. They also suggest that given a competitive labor market, employers need to offer good salaries as well as advancement opportunities if they want to attract and retain employees.






 

 





Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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