The Struggles of Low-Wage Work

Millions of workers have jobs with low pay, shifting schedules, few if any benefits, and limited opportunities for advancement or career growth. Women and people of color are particularly likely to have such jobs. Despite employment gains since the Great Recession, wages have remained low. A median worker did not earn much more in 2017 than in 1979. Workers in low-wage jobs are also more likely to receive part-time hours when they would prefer a full-time schedule.

This fact sheet—written by Tanya Goldman, Pronita Gupta, and Eduardo Hernandez—describes low-wage workers' challenges and explains the elements that a good job requires.