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June 2, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

In Virginia, disappearing jobs in the middle

VIRGINIA/WORKFORCE
The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis takes a close look at the disappearance of middle-wage jobs in the state of Virginia, and the effect on residents. While the number of available middle wage-jobs has dropped, the number of low- and high-paying jobs has grown since the recession, creating a situation that makes it difficult to climb the career ladder (The Half Sheet, 5/29):

In May 2014, the latest year for which data are available, there were 27,400 fewer jobs in mid-wage occupations – those paying on average $15.33 to $23.13 an hour – than there were in May 2013.

That’s on top of the loss of nearly 70,000 jobs in that wage range between 2007 and 2010. There’s been some ups and downs since then. But the plunge in the last year means that today Virginia has even fewer jobs in mid-wage occupations than during the depths of the recession.

Meanwhile, the number of jobs with median wages below $15.33 an hour grew by 26,100 when comparing May 2013 and 2014. This involves work like retail sales, grounds maintenance, and record clerks. On average, such jobs pay just $12.45 an hour. That’s under $25,000 a year for a full-time, year-round worker.

At the top, Virginia is seeing continued growth in occupations that typically pay above $24 an hour: jobs like office supervisors, sales reps for services, nurses and doctors, and lawyers. These are great jobs to have, but it’s really hard get there directly from the bottom. You need those middle rungs to climb all the way up.

COMMUNITY
– The Public Welfare Foundation is hiring a Criminal Justice Program Officer. You can check out the position description here, and be sure to share!

United Way of the National Capital Area‘s Do More 24 is just two days away! Do More 24, which takes place on June 4, is a local movement that brings together nonprofit organizations, companies, and people committed to making a difference through a day of focused, online giving.

EDUCATION | For the Poor, the Graduation Gap Is Even Wider Than The Enrollment Gap (NYT, 6/2)

POVERTY | According to a newly released study by the Federal Reserve Board on the economic well being of American households, in 2014, 47 percent of survey respondents indicated that they would not be able to cover an emergency expense totaling $400 – or that they would need to borrow or sell something in order to take care of it. Additionally, a study by the Urban Institute found that more families are relying on alternative financial services (like predatory loans). (City Lab, 5/29)

IMMIGRATION | The secret to being rich is surprisingly simple (WaPo, 6/1)


Take a look at where the nation’s unclaimed baggage goes to live out the rest of its days. Looks like a cool place to go!

– Ciara

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