The Changing Face Of The Low-Wage Worker In America

Tyler Durden's picture

Climbing above the poverty line has become more daunting in recent years. NY Times reports that the composition of the nation’s low-wage work force has been transformed by the Great Recession, shifting demographics and other factors.


Via NYTimes,

More than half of those who make $9 or less an hour are 25 or older, while the proportion who are teenagers has declined to just 17 percent from 28 percent in 2000, after adjusting for inflation, according to Janelle Jones and John Schmitt of the Center for Economic Policy Research.


Today’s low-wage workers are also more educated, with 41 percent having at least some college, up from 29 percent in 2000. “Minimum-wage and low-wage workers are older and more educated than 10 or 20 years ago, yet they’re making wages below where they were 10 or 20 years ago after inflation,” said Mr. Schmitt, senior economist at the research center.


"If you look back several decades, workers near the minimum wage were more likely to be teenagers — that’s the stereotype people had. It’s definitely not accurate anymore.”

Read more personal stories of the "recovery" here.

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Bonapartist's picture

Deflation- it's why QE will never end.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Deflation in what?  The "price" of useless shit you don't need to survive?  Sure, why not..

centerline's picture

Wages for one as per this article.  Candle is being burned from both ends - which is why the 'flation argument in any classical economic sense becomes really confusing.  Even the term stagflation is disingenuous.

Bonapartist's picture

Still paying $2 a gallon for milk and $1 for a loaf of bread or a dozen eggs.

centerline's picture

eesh, not me.  Food prices have gone nuts (eating is sort of a necessity of course) where I am.  Flat screen TVs on the other hand are dirt cheap (but not very tasty).

McMolotov's picture

Try iPads. They're delicious with a red wine vinaigrette.

Soul Glow's picture

Food prices are still high for me too.  But I buy organic farmed local foodstuffs.  

I do grow some vegitables, and that saves me a silver coin a week, maybe.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Right, where?  on base maybe.

Bonapartist's picture

IL- nice to be close to food sources

LawsofPhysics's picture

IL is a food source?  LMFAO! how those fields looking this time of year?

Fucking troll.

Bonapartist's picture

laugh all you want fuckface- but those are the prices I pay. ass-eating is still free so you have that going for you.

NotApplicable's picture

If you really can find food that cheap... well, it isn't really food so much as "food substitute."

SmackDaddy's picture

haha $1.99 on some fucking yoohoo or something?  chocolate milk flavored drink.  for the record- cheapest gallons I see in Columbus are $2.50 (but you've got to go to wally world for that shit- fuck that).  $3.29 at giant eagle.  The good organic shit will run you $5-6+ (difference is apparent, just not worth it since we go through 5-6 gallons a week at our house- try raising hockey players)

Soul Glow's picture

The rBST from the cows milk you are feeding your hockey players is going to make them muscle heads now and grow them bitch tits later.  You remember Bob?  Bob had bitch tits.

What is rBST?

Bovine somatotropin (BST) is a protein hormone naturally produced in the pituitary glands of cattle. Monsanto developed a recombinant version, rBST, by using a genetically engineered E. coli bacteria. Sold under the brand name “Posilac,” it is injected into cows to boost milk output in the short term. This practice is coming under increasing scrutiny. rBST is also known as rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone).

Flagit's picture

there are a few producers that have started printing on the label the product does not contain Bovine.

zuuma's picture

Hmmm... So lemmeesee...

If I start chugging lots of BST-laced cow juice, I'll put on a righteous set of bitch tits. Correct?

Which means that after a few short months of said chugging, I'll be able to lock my doors, pull my shades, kick back on the recliner to some good midget porn and stroke, rub & fondle MY OWN lucious tits?

WOW! Awesome.

What's the downside?


A Nanny Moose's picture

His name is Robert Paulson.

Just avoid any support groups.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Yes, we got it, keep swiping the EBT loser.

Grande Tetons's picture


Bread has been rising! Cool can check by region too. 

SmackDaddy's picture

You can buy a mansion in Detroit on that kind of salary..... 

Overfed's picture

The part of FEMA region X that I live in is surrounded by dairy farms, and milk is $4/gal. Quality bread is $3 on sale.

lakecity55's picture

I think our Glorious Leader, Bath House, is surrounded by evil people who won't tell him the truth. If we could only get word to him about these prices, he would save us!

Peanut Butter Engineer's picture

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 11:59 | 4567937Bonapartist
Still paying $2 a gallon for milk and $1 for a loaf of bread or a dozen eggs.

Milk is already $3 a half gallon and it's also $2 for a dozen egg, I'm at MD, USA. Tell me were you live were things are so cheap.

A Nanny Moose's picture

What are you buying, and where? Certainly not in the typical grocery store.

BeerMe's picture

Deflation?  Based on what?  The government formula?  I guess no need to worry when minimum wage is increased?  Or...

You can lose more purchasing power because miniumum wage is the government's wage control.  Make people think they are earning more while stealthing them with energy and food inflation.  QE is the inflation plan in this Keynesian system.  Deficit spending and wage controls.

Dr. Engali's picture

We aren't quite to China's levels of slave labor, but the globalists are getting us there.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Correct, this has been the plan since 1971 (maybe even 1913).

SelfGov's picture

Some see a global conspiracy.

All I see is a second law of thermodynamics.

Both of those years are pivotal years in resource production too.

UK Coal production peak occurred in 1913.

US oil production peak occurred in 1971.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Correct.  However, it still does not address the issue of a chosen few printing money and handing it out to their friends...

tick tock motherfuckers...

centerline's picture

Now turned into a complete lawless free for all.

Anusocracy's picture

The sorry state of America is caused by ever increasing government weeds crowding out private sector crops.

A successful formula for destroying economies for thousands of years. We need more government to finish it off.

Clark Bent's picture

Lawless for them (their version of true liberty, free to be criminal) but not so lawless for what we might euphemistically call citizens of the United States. Those not in the elite are buried  a dozen times over in prohibitions and directives. On top of that, our hyper-enthusiastic militarized police forces are more than happy to kick doors down, and surveill their ways into charges that pit you agains the full force of the government and their lackeys in the press.

No longer the Rule of Law, but man are we ruled by our masters. Hayek predicted this, it is apparently inevitable since Adam ate the apple.   

Rafferty's picture

" However, it still does not address the issue of a chosen few printing money and handing it out to their friends..."


Yes, it's remarkable how there's always someone to point the finger at something else.  The old magicians's distraction technique.

centerline's picture

I tend to lean towards putting a check in the box that is labeled "all of the above."

One of key concepts that deserves repeating is that money does not care much about nations or the people.

Cheap energy, in my opinion, is what has propelled this current cycle of the human experience through the proverbial ceiling.  Population growth, globalization, social complexity, etc. would never have reached current levels without it.  All it takes is one glance a historical world population chart and the essence of this current ponzi scheme is really damn clear.  The "growth" is real and therefore the inevitable "contraction" will be real.

Overfed's picture

Unless there is a quantum leap in technology soon, cheap energy will be a thing of the past. That's the one thing that gives me hope vis-a-vis a global government. Very soon, it will be far too costly to project power around the world. Prepare for disunited regional governments. And war. Lots of war.

Soul Glow's picture

I've been wondering if the despreate move into Ukraine by NATO was due to a sharp fall in recent months of oil produced by oil rich and dollar positive Nation-States.  Here's looking at you, Saud.

CrashisOptimistic's picture

Here's looking at the price just rising over $100 again a moment ago.

Spastica Rex's picture

Americans must worker much harder to compete with the Chinese (to lower the cost of their labor).

It always makes me laugh to hear that we must improve public education in order to compete.

Ha. Ha.

johnQpublic's picture

It always makes me laugh to hear that we must improve public re-education in order to compete.


there, fixed it for ya

Spastica Rex's picture

No, I think you mean de-education.

Offthebeach's picture

I love the expression, "Some things are so stupid you must be educated into believing them."

This is why regimes used to occupy 20% of workers time with correct thinking class. I.e., educating the masses.

And hence the reason for ever more, ever longer education.

The old Congregational church I used to sit in had plaques on benches donated by 1800's sail captains. Lots were early 20's. First mates off China at age 17. At sea at age 14.

Now everywhere I see yuppie moms in the SUV,engine running at school bus stops a 100 feet from the house. Precious cant walk or stand in the rain. Pathetic, and sad. I don't know why they aren't wearing safety helmets and ratchet strapped to the bus seats with mouth guards.
supose that is next.

dizzyfingers's picture

"It always makes me laugh to hear that we must improve public education in order to compete."

The parking lot of our grammer/middle school (less than 800 students) is full-to-bursting with mostly-new cars of "employees", and there are fewer students each year because of graduation and no replacements due to real estate bust and foreclosures.

In IL, public employees are stampeding to double-dip second public jobs to pad their paychecks and benefits.  In "middle class" districts school curriculum is propaganda, forget about actual education.

scrappy's picture

To save money I have been buying silly putty, and just stare at the plastic egg.   Just doing my part for the woar effort.

History of Silly Putty

One of the most important resources needed for World War II war production was rubber. It was essential for tires (which kept the trucks moving) and boots (which kept the soldiers moving). It was also important for gas masks, life rafts, and even bombers. Beginning early in the war, the Japanese attacked many of the rubber-producing countries in Asia, drastically affecting the supply route. To conserve rubber, civilians in the United States were asked to donate old rubber tires, rubber raincoats, rubber boots, and anything else that consisted at least in part of rubber. Rations were placed even on gasoline to hinder people from driving their cars. Propaganda posters instructed people in the importance of carpooling and showed them how to care for their household rubber products so they would last the duration of the war.



Bearwagon's picture

No, they will have us all blown to pieces long before ...  ;-)

BLOTTO's picture

North America was just an experiment for them to create a new type of modern day slave. 'They' dont give a flying fuck about us.

cynicalskeptic's picture

We aren't quite to China's levels of slave labor, but the globalists are getting us there.

You CANNOT 'compete' in a rigged game.  Chinese workers are far closer to serfdom thant those in the West.  No real worker protection laws - toxic chemicals, air, lousy and unsafe working conditions (example: explosions form aluminum dust in iCraap factories).   Long hours and no choice about it.  Worker suicides and more.  China is where the West was at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution - a Dickensonian hell for many workers.  You can't compete against THAT - nor should you WANT to (unless you're one of the multinational execs making millions from the 'savings').

Henry Ford raised the wages of his workers on assembly lines to cut high turnover levels - and the assocuated costs of training new workers.  He ALSO managed to create new customers for his products - workers who could now AFFORD to buy cars.

We're now in a reverse trend - an endless pursuit of the cheapest opossible labor (EXCEPT at the top where executives are GROSSLY OVERPAID for the amount of work they do).   The problem is that workers can no  longer even afford the cheap crap from China - even WITH government assistance.

The few remaining workers are overtaxed to pay for the benefits given out by government - which ALLOW companies to underpay workers while those at the top UNDERPAY their 'fair share'.  The 7 Walton heirs are worth more than 40% of ALL Americans yet Walmart underpays its staff most of whom are kept on 'part-time' status whie collectign government aid in the form of Food Stamps and Healthcare.

The West committed economic suicide with 'Free Trade'.

Perot and others saw it coming but BOTH the Democrats and Republicans continue to push it.  All that TARP money should have had a requirement to repatriate JOBS - instead Banks and Wall Street continue to ship them overseas.  DP and Call Centers, now Accounting functions....... government is complicit in the destruction of the working class.

SmackDaddy's picture

I was 10 years old during that 92 election.  I remember getting the impression from the adults that perot was a joke.  fucking stupid assholes.  I figured out very quickly after that I was smarter than 90% of the adults around me.  Still took me to about age 30 to figure out why though...  owe some of that to ZH.  I forget what I was searching when i first discovered ZH.  but i was glad to know i wasnt the only one wading through this bullshit