Dreams Deferred: Downward Mobility and Making Ends Meet in the Service Sector

Dreams Deferred: Downward Mobility and Making Ends Meet in the Service Sector

Nearly one-in-five jobs in the United State are in the service sector, including in retail, grocery, pharmacy, fast food, and fulfillment, but there are countervailing views on who works these jobs and to what end. One view in the public imaginary is that service-sector employment is dominated by workers who are temporarily in this line of work and using it as a source of extra income or as a first rung on a ladder towards career growth and economic opportunity (Selyukh, 2021). But, an alternative view is that many workers rely on service sector work to get by—and to support...

Why Are Young Workers Leaving Their Jobs?

The American labor market has experienced dramatic changes since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic in the early spring of 2020, with historic job losses followed by a sharp employment recovery. Since 2021, the pandemic labor market has entered a third phase, with a dramatic reshuffling of workers in the labor market. Commonly referred to as the “Great Resignation,” workers have left their jobs at extraordinary rates, particularly younger workers. While some argue that young workers left their jobs to rely on the federal stimulus money or other forms of public assistance, others believe that young workers left their...
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California could transform how fast food workers are treated

The restaurant industry is fighting hard against a labor bill making its way through the California legislature.

California fast-food worker pay falls ‘far below a living wage,’ report says

They earn nearly $6,000 less a year than others employed in comparable service-sector jobs
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Fast-Food Workers Are Closing In on a Major Victory in California

A new bill would establish a statewide council to determine wages and working conditions.

Low Pay, Less Predictability: Fast Food Jobs in California

In January 2022, the California State Assembly voted in support of a first-of its-kind labor bill, known as the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (FAST Recovery Act). The FAST Act establishes an independent council to set industry-wide labor standards on wages, hours, schedules, and other working conditions relating to health and safety for Fast Food workers in the state. The bill also makes businesses jointly liable for any labor violations among their franchisees. The standards set by this council would have widespread impacts, affecting around half-a-million workers in the state.
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