Understanding Low-Wage Work in the United States
The next decade could be one of considerable progress for improving low-wage jobs. In November 2006, voters in six states boosted state minimum wages, and voters in even more states elected candidates who pledged to increase the federal minimum wage and take steps to improve the economy for everyone. Yet relatively little agreement exists about the policies (beyond raising the minimum wage) that can improve these jobs, even among experts studying low-wage work.
The Mobility Agenda staff is developing a menu of new ideas and strategies for improving low wage work, a set of options that goes beyond minimum wage to strengthen the labor market and build an economy that works for everyone. Our focus is on improving wages, benefits, and other conditions of low-wage work. We seek to encourage further public debate about the significance of low-wage work and to promote discussion among stakeholders—workers, employers, policymakers, academics, community organizers, and others—about the extent to which a more direct focus on the labor market and economic policy is necessary to reduce poverty and improve the well-being of low-income families.
In this report, the Mobility Agenda staff defines low-wage work and provides a description of the low-wage labor market.
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