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Graph showing low-wage jobs as a percentage of total employment. Shoots up to 39.5% post recession.

There are nearly three job seekers for every available job in the United States. But if you're looking for anything other than a low-wage job, your chances are much worse. A new report from the Alliance for a Just Society finds that that the "job gap" between people looking for work and jobs paying above $15 an hour is more of a job chasm. Nationally, there are seven job seekers for every job paying above $15.

Don't look to the recovery from recession to make this situation better. In fact:

In terms of actual employment rather than projected openings, the share of U.S. jobs that pay below the $15 an hour low-wage threshold increased from 36.55% in 2009 to 39.45% in 2012. There were 51.4 million low-wage jobs in 2012. [...]

The number of jobs in occupational categories with median wages above $15 an hour dropped by 4 million from 2009 to 2012, masked by an increase of 3.6 million jobs with median wages below $15 an hour.

Unsurprisingly, low-wage workers are disproportionately people of color and women.

When you consider the seven people looking for every job paying more than $15 an hour, remember that $15 still isn't a living wage in many areas or for many families. At the high end, in New York City, a living wage—allowing for rent, food, transportation, and other basic expenses—for a single adult is $22.66 an hour. But even in Montana, a single adult needs $13.92 an hour. The amounts needed obviously rise for families with children, not just because children need to be fed and clothed but because child care—a necessity for working parents—is not cheap.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 08:10 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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