PERI
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The Working Poor: A Booming Demographic
Abstract:
In this article for New Labor Forum. Wicks-Lim discusses the important finding that now and into the next decade, more than two-thirds of the jobs that U.S. workers will depend on to earn their livelihoods will be non-college-degree jobs. For the large majority of workers, the key to avoiding—or escaping—the ranks of the working poor will necessarily rely less on whether they have any post-secondary education and more on whether jobs that require no college experience pay decent wages. She argues that employers should pay their workers a rate that keeps pace with the increasing number of goods and services that they generate—a crucial distinction has been lost in the absence of a powerful union movement. The fight against poverty wages requires a strong labor movement that can recast, again, the debate over wage standards in terms of what’s fair, not what passes as minimally decent. 
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