Characteristics of Low-Wage Workers and Their Labor Market Experiences: Evidence from the Mid- to Late 1990s. Descriptive Analysis Findings, By Gender


Our descriptive analysis shows that low-wage workers experienced considerable wage growth during the boom period of the mid- to late 1990s. Nearly 80 percent of low-wage workers experienced some wage increase over the three-year period following job start, and nearly one in five had jobs that paid more than $10 per hour at the end of the period. Male workers started at higher hourly wage levels than female workers, but both groups experienced similar wage growth over time (about a 25 percent increase over the three-year period). Low-wage workers also moved to better jobs over time  they were more likely to work full-time, and a higher fraction were in jobs that offered fringe benefits.

Although many low-wage workers experienced wage growth in their jobs and moved into better jobs, over half of low-wage workers remained in the low-wage labor-market three years later, even in this period of strong economic conditions.

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