May Jobs Report: 43 Percent of All Job Gains Were Low-Wage

May Jobs Report: 43 Percent of All Job Gains Were Low-Wage


The May jobs report from the Department of Labor is out, and while 280,000 jobs were added to the economy, 43% of all job gains were in the low wage sector.

The overall unemployment rate is 5.5%, and the rate for African Americans and Latinos is still higher than the rate for whites, coming in at 10.2% and 6.7% respectively. The unemployment rate for whites is currently 4.7%.

One reason to be concerned about the rate of job growth in the low wage sector is that workers of color tend to be concentrated in these jobs. A recent report by Demos and the NAACP found that Black and Latino retail workers tend to be in lower paid positions and are more likely to be considered “working poor.” The report from Demos and the NAACP also revealed that Black and Latino retail workers are more likely to be employed part time in retail positions when they would like full-time work.

So while the economy is adding jobs, the kind of jobs that are being added aren’t necessarily those that will help uplift Latino and African American communities.

Photo credit: Retail janitors in the Twin Cities strike against Target by Fibonacci Blue, licensed under CC BY 2.0.


  1. Jobs in the U.S…. The job outlook in the United States is projected to grow at a rate faster than the post recession years. Most notably by strong movement in health care, technology, and oil and gas extraction occupations…While many of these jobs pay above-average wages, demand for high-paying work results in subsequent demand for low-wage work….Overall, projections point to significant growth at the high and low ends of the wage scale, while many middle-wage occupations are stagnant or in decline.