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As CEO Pay Soars, Many New Jobs Fail To Provide A Living Wage

Unemployment

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 04/01/11 03:57 PM ET Updated: 06/01/11 06:12 AM ET

Despite a falling unemployment rate and encouraging signs of a healing economy, a new report suggests America is not adding the right kind of jobs.

Most newly-created jobs don't pay enough to meet even the most basic of needs, according to a report released by Wider Opportunities for Women on Friday.

The report came as a USA Today study found CEO pay climbing back to pre-recession levels. In data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate inched down to 8.8 percent from 8.9 percent.

But with wages virtually static, job creation modest and the cost gas and energy rising, the timing couldn't be worse for low-wage workers, who are bearing the brunt of the recession that has seen state and federal governments slash their safety nets in the name of deficit reduction.

Single workers need almost twice the federal minimum wage to cover their basic expenses -- just over $30,000 a year -- according to the report by Wider Opportunities for Women.

Single parents, meanwhile, need almost $58,000 to meet the most basic needs of two children, and two-income households require roughly $68,000, the report found. Many new jobs being created will not pay wages that offer that level of economic security, and most workers without a four-year college degree will not have access to the jobs that do, according to the report's authors.

"Too few American families are living in economically secure households, with most workers unable to stretch their incomes over basic expenses and savings," Joan Kuriansky, executive director of WOW said in a statement. "The American Dream of working hard to support your family is being rewritten by the growth of low paying industries and rising expenses."

The WOW report suggests that limiting budget cuts to programs that help bridge the gap between low wages and the increasing cost of living could stop families from sliding further into poverty. Programs that especially help struggling families, the report says, include Childcare and Development Block Grant and Head Start, as well Department of Labor job training programs and Medicaid.

"Cuts to Head Start and childcare assistance programs will leave many parents without a childcare option and could force many of them to leave their jobs," WOW executive director Kuriansky said. "Cutting the very programs that are helping families stay afloat is a short-sighted move that will stall our economic recovery."

At the same time many American workers grapple with their low-wage jobs, the CEOs of some of the country's biggest companies are enjoying significant pay increases, according to analysis released today by USA Today. Pay for CEOs running companies in the S&P 500 jumped 27 percent in 2010, the paper found. The same can't be said for workers across the board, as overall pay grew by just 2.1 percent over the same time period, according to figures cited by USA Today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

American workers displeased with their jobs now rate their overall life satisfaction lower than even unemployed workers, a Gallup poll showed this week. Unemployed workers reported positive experiences -- including being "treated with respect" and learning "something interesting" -- more often than workers currently unsatisfied with their jobs.

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