Charts! We love them. We’ve talked a lot about how low-wage jobs have overwhelmingly replaced mid-wage jobs lost during the financial crisis. Data from the National Employment Law Project shows this, and new data from Goldman Sachs and the Department of Labor also supports this. More importantly the Goldman Sachs report shows that the “hollowing out in the middle is real, it is not unique to the post-crisis period,” which means that we can’t just blame this on the financial crisis—there has been rapid growth in the low-wage sector since the booming ’90s.
With fewer mid-wage jobs to be had, and a rapid rise in low-wage work, we’re now at this moment, not surprisingly, where the frustrations with low-wage work—with Walmart workers having a food drive for their employees so they can have Thanksgiving, with McDonald’s telling its workers to apply for welfare benefits and to break up their food into pieces so they eat less but still feel full—have resulted in demands for living wages and nationwide protests, including more than 1,500 just announced by Wal-Mart workers in a press release:
“Black Friday 2013 will mark a turning point in American history,” said Dorian Warren, an associate professor at Columbia University. “Fifteen hundred protests against Walmart is unprecedented. Working families are fighting back like never before—and have the support of America behind them.”