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