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Job quality study reveals nearly half of fully-employed people make less than $18k a year

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As of this writing, the latest numbers on unemployment in the U.S. report less than 4 percent of Americans are unemployed. While that measure has long been used to indicate a strong economy — and as a frequent bragging point for the Trump administration — it seems this figure might not convey the full picture. Despite full employment, many American workers are barely scraping by. To understand why, we have to look at the quality of those jobs.

According to The U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index prepared by Cornell University, the majority of new jobs being added in the U.S. are low-wage and/or low-hour positions. And while that has been a trend for decades, the proportion of low-quality jobs to high-quality jobs has increased dramatically since 1990, to the point that over 60 percent of all new paid and non-supervisory (P&NS) jobs created have been low-wage, low-hour roles.