Bad Jobs on the Rise

Janelle Jones and I have a new CEPR report out today: “Bad Jobs on the Rise” (pdf). This report follows up on the one we did in July called “Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone?” (pdf).

From the executive summary:

…we define a bad job as one that pays less than $37,000 per year (in inflation-adjusted 2010 dollars); lacks employer-provided health insurance; and has no employer-sponsored retirement plan.

By our calculations, about 24 percent of U.S. workers were in a bad job in 2010 (the most recently available data).

The share of bad jobs in the economy is substantially higher than it was in 1979, when 18 percent of workers were in a bad job by the same definition.

The problems we identify here are long-term and largely unrelated to the Great Recession. Most of the increase in bad jobs – to 22 percent in 2007 – occurred before the recession and subsequent weak recovery.

I wanted to call the paper “Bad Jobs, Bad Jobs, Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come For You,” but my CEPR colleagues put their foot down. In any event, that is probably a better title for the next report in the series, which will look at the most effective policies for increasing job quality.

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