Employment rates in the US have bounced back to pre-recession levels but most of the jobs that have been created are a lot worse than the jobs that were lost, a report from the National Employment Law Project finds. Around 1 million higher-wage and middle-wage jobs vanished during the downturn and have not been replaced, while there are about 1.8 million more low-paid jobs than there were before the recession, the report finds. The effect has been to push average household incomes down and to shift families from the middle class to the working poor.
"Fast food is driving the bulk of the job growth at the low end—the job gains there are absolutely phenomenal," the report’s author says. "If this is the reality—if these jobs are here to stay and are going to be making up a considerable part of the economy—the question is, how do we make them better?" Analysts worry that even if the economy gets a lot stronger, the lost middle-class jobs will not be replaced and the work force will become polarized between high-paid jobs and jobs with poor pay and benefits, the New York Times reports. (Read more employment stories.)