Amid the state’s rise in employment, there is one area of the labor market that has remained neglected: mid-range jobs. The swift increase in jobs have been concentrated in the low-wage areas, and on the higher end of things, continual consolidation has created a higher pay at the top of the salary spectrum.
When middle range earning becomes stagnant, the mid-range earners seek jobs in the lower-earning/low wage market. It chokes that market and drives more and more people to poverty. Middle range earners are the only employees who continue to suffer from the deep decline seen in the recession; it is the only range of the job market that continues to decline.
Southern California has been particularly slow in recovery because the wages continue to remain stagnant as compared to living costs. Whereas, in northern California, the weekly wage is so high that it ranks among the highest of all US counties. LA County’s wages declined at 1.9% (the same as Jefferson, Alabama who filed for bankruptcy in 2011). To put it in perspective, LA County ranks 302nd out of 334 large counties in the nation while San Francisco ranks 19th out of 334.
With the disparity of mid-range earning jobs, the American dream seems to be fading. Employees currently in these mid-range positions are fighting to keep these positions, leaving low wage earners no hope or aspirations of moving up through the ranks.
Chief economists for the LA County Economic Development Corp., Robert Kleinhenz, stated, “If you have all three incomes levels in balance, there’s a theoretical ladder that low-wage households can hopefully climb. It helps sustain the overall health of communities to know that there’s the possibility of moving up. That’s the American dream.”
Source: LA Times
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