Minnesota's economic recovery driven by McJobs, not middle-class jobs

The raw jobs numbers obscure the fact that many regained jobs just aren't very good ones.
The raw jobs numbers obscure the fact that many regained jobs just aren't very good ones.
Phil and Pam and slgckgc on Flickr

-- The Mpls Federal Reserve breaks down the Great Recession, steady recovery out of it [GRAPHICS]
-- Minnesota has regained 48 percent of jobs lost during Great Recession

Minnesota has regained 58 percent of the 147,600 jobs lost during the Great Recession. That puts up ahead of most of the rest of the country -- nationally, fewer than half the jobs lost from December 2007 through June 2009 have been regained.

But regaining middle-class jobs is one thing -- regaining McJobs is another. And according to a recent analysis of the jobs added in the state over the past three-plus years, middle-class jobs are much harder to find these days than they were before the Great Recession.

From the Star Tribune:

Almost 36 percent of vacancies today pay a median wage of $10 an hour or less, according to a Star Tribune analysis of state data. Meanwhile, the portion of jobs that pay $10 to $25 an hour has dropped sharply, from nearly two-thirds of openings a decade ago to 43 percent now.

The labor data shows that while the state's economy has resumed growing, recovering more than half the jobs it lost to the recession, it is also changing in ways that work against the traditional middle class...

The five jobs with the most openings in Minnesota are retail sales, combined food prep and serving, heavy and tractor-trailer truck driving, nursing assistants, and waiters and waitresses.

Those five categories account for 11,434 openings in the state, and only truck drivers fall squarely in the middle-income bracket, earning a median wage of $17 per hour. Retail and food service positions pay a median between $7 per hour and $8 per hour, pay that puts workers below or close to poverty level, depending on the size of their household.

A Washington Post report indicates that the Minnesota's McJobs phenomenon is far from unique. Nationally, only 27 percent of the jobs created since June 2009 pay between $13.83 and $21.13 per hour, with 58 percent paying less than that. Forty percent of the jobs regained since the recovery began -- about 1.7 million -- are in the food service, retail, and employment services industries.

As a recent report from the National Employment Law Project concludes, "Policymakers have understandably been focused on the urgent goal of getting U.S. employment back to where it was before the recession (we are still missing nearly 10 million jobs), but [the McJobs numbers] underscore that job quality is rapidly emerging as a second front in the struggling recovery."

-- Hat-tip: BringMeTheNews.com

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