Occupational Wage Declines Since the Great Recession: Low-Wage Occupations See Largest Real Wage Declines

Source: Claire McKenna, Irene Tung, National Employment Law Project, Data Brief, September 2015

From the summary:

…..In this data brief, we examine real wage declines for U.S. workers based on their occupations. Previous research has used a variety of other data sources and measures to examine change in real earnings. Our analysis relies on data from the Occupational Employment Statistics series which affords the ability to examine wage declines across nearly 800 occupations, providing a richer and more granular picture of wage changes since 2009. As described in the discussion below and shown in the Appendix Table, wage decline rates are not uniform across all occupations. Rather, higher rates are concentrated in certain occupations, and rates overall vary across quintiles. Our occupational wage data analysis also makes clear that, on average, the lowest-paying jobs have experienced disproportionately greater wage declines. Policymakers may want to pay particular attention to these differences as they set priorities for remedial action or determine appropriate policies and strategies to raise wages for certain kinds of jobs. Using the latest available data on hourly wages by occupation, this brief details the trends in occupational real wages since the recovery began in 2009. We calculated the percentage change in real median hourly wages from 2009 to 2014 for 785 occupations, which were grouped into quintiles, each representing approximately one-fifth of total employment in 2014. We summarize our findings below. Our analysis for this brief updates our earlier work finding wage declines by occupation between 2009 and 2013….