Did you hear the happy news? Dollar General stores will hire 6,000 people this year. Yes America, hiring is back!
Actually, curb the enthusiasm. This isn't the stuff that robust middle class recoveries are made of. According to Payscale.com, the Dollar General chain pays its assistant managers $9.22 an hour and store managers $11.51 an hour. Cashiers and sales associates make barely over minimum wage. We're talking about thousands of new jobs between $20,000 and $30,000 a year.
It's a sign of the times. Low-wage jobs, including everything from retail sales associates to home health aides, are the bread and butter of our employment boom, while middle income jobs are on the decline.
Among the top ten occupations projected to have the largest numerical growth in the next decade, seven pay median wages under $30,000 a year, including food preparers and servers earning $16,000, and retail and home care workers who make $20,000. Home aides and retail workers are expected to add about 1.4 million positions this decade while middle-class manufacturing jobs are projected to lose more than a million jobs.
This is not the kind of job swap you want to see in a world-leading economy. Peter Creticos, president and executive director for the Institute for Work and the Economy, calls it the "down waging" of American jobs, and he fears it has and will continue to hurt the economy, blunt innovation and impoverish society at large.