Jobs and Income in the Current “Recovery”

AEIdeas‘ James Pethokoukis has some data in his article, “Obama’s low-wage jobs recovery.” He talked about the type of jobs being…created…in this so-called recovery; the graph below highlights his point.NetChangeEmployment

There’s another aspect to this, though, and that’s the income implication of the type of jobs being created. I constructed the table below from the data in the graph above, using the mid-points of each industry type wage range and assuming a 2080 hour work year—that is, everyone, even the low-wage industry worker, either works all 52 weeks of the year or gets paid in full for vacation time, including holidays, to keep the arithmetic simple.

Wage Mid-Point Jobs Lost (Thousands) Jobs Gained (Thousands) Not Jobs Gained (Thousands) Net Annual Wages Gained/Lost (Thousands $)
High Wage: $26.3250 (3,579) 2,603 (976) ($53,441,856)
Medium Wage: $16.8650 (3,240) 2,282 (958) ($33,605,874)
Low Wage: $11.4050 (1,973) 3,824 1,851 $43,910,162
Total: ($43,137,567)

You’re reading that right. The only net gain in income is in the low end industries; these folks, by being able to go back to work, have gotten a net increase of some $44 billion in their annual income. But that’s swamped by the losses in the other two categories, and the nation as a whole has lost some $43 billion in annual income.

This is a fine recovery, yes, indeed.

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