Report: Low-wage jobs up, high-wage jobs down in Connecticut

By Kevin Zimmerman

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Since 2001, the share of industries in Connecticut that typically pay low wages has increased by 20 percent, while high-wage industry employment has decreased by 13 percent, according to a report by independent research and advocacy group Connecticut Voices for Children (CVC).

Workers from racial and ethnic minorities and those without a college degree face unemployment rates three times those of whites in Connecticut, the group said.

“Changes in the state economy pose challenges for low-wage workers seeking to give their children the best possible start in life,” said CVC Executive Director Ellen Shemitz.

“Connecticut’s jobs swap has implications for individual family economic well-being and for the state’s overall revenue sufficiency,” added CVC Fiscal Policy Fellow and co-author of the report Derek Thomas. “The first decade in the 21st century – which includes the loss of manufacturing jobs in the early 2000s as well as the vast job losses during the Great Recession – has left the state with a sizeable high-wage jobs deficit.”

The report recommends five key policy initiatives: restoring the earned income tax credit for low income workers to its original 2011 levels to allow low-wage workers to retain more of what they have earned; raising the minimum hourly wage from the current $9.60 to $15; expanding high-quality early childhood education to remove barriers to employment for parents and better prepare future generations of workers; strengthening infrastructure investments to ensure economic competitiveness and economy-boosting jobs; and reforming property taxes for a more equitable education system.

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