Low-wage jobs are California’s Achilles’ heel

California has a serious low-wage jobs problem, and it’s only gotten worse over the past 15 years.

restaurant workersThat’s according to Annette Bernhardt, a senior researcher at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and a visiting professor in sociology, writing in the Sacramento Bee.

In a new analysis, Bernhardt and her colleagues “found that fully a third of our state’s workers earned low wages in 2014 – less than $13.63 an hour,” she reports. “That’s about 4.8 million workers, the large majority of them adults and many of them working full-time and supporting families.”

What makes these statistics especially troubling, she adds, “is that California’s low-wage workers are older and more educated than they were 35 years ago.”

Bernhardt details what all this means for low-wage workers and their families, and for society as a whole as they’re “forced to turn to public assistance to make ends meet,” at an estimated cost of $14.3 billion a year in California in state and federal programs. Read her special report to the Sacramento Bee.