INSTITUTE INDEX: The post-recession shift to low-wage jobs leaves Southern workers struggling
Total number of jobs created in Southern states* since their unemployment rates peaked during the Great Recession that began in late 2007: nearly 4.3 million
Average annual wage of jobs lost during the recession: $61,637
Average annual wage of jobs gained since then: $47,171
Rank of the South among U.S. regions where metro areas experienced the greatest disparities in pay between jobs lost and those gained: 1
Percent of new jobs nationally that pay less than $15 an hour: 48
Percent of new jobs in South Carolina that do: 57
Hourly pay needed to provide a living wage for a single adult in South Carolina: $15.45
The ratio of South Carolinians seeking jobs to the number of openings for jobs there that pay a living wage: 10 to 1
Year in which South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) implied in an interview that she would discourage companies from coming to the state if they were open to unionization, which has been shown to boost wages and benefits: 2014
Rank of the South among the least-unionized U.S. regions: 1
Share of jobs in the South that are in low-wage industries paying a median annual income less than $23,624, the povery threshold for a family of four: 1 in 3
Number of Southern states without a state minimum wage or with one at or below the federal standard of $7.25 per hour: 10**
Number of working families in the South living at or below the poverty level: nearly 1.4 million
Rank of the South among U.S. regions where workers have the highest rates of public assistance usage: 1
Percent of currently employed Southern workers and their family members who receive public assistance: 30
Percent of workers in Mississippi who do: 36.2
Number of people among the lowest-paid 30 percent of workers nationally who would not need to be on public assistance if the average wage was increased by $1.17 an hour: 1 million
* The Institute for Southern studies defines the South as including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
** The Southern states with no minimum wage or a minimum wage at or below the federal level are Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
(Click on figure to go to source.)
Allie is a research fellow at the Institute for Southern Studies and is currently studying at the Yale School of Management. Her research focuses on demographic change, immigration, voting and civic engagement.