Irish Economy
America and Ireland have highest percentages of low-paying jobs in developed world
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Sep 24, 2014 - 5:37 PM

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A 50-page briefing titled 'Inequality and Consumption' on the impact of inequality on consumption, published Monday, has a chart which shows that America and Ireland are among the countries with the highest low-paying jobs inĀ  the developed world.

"For US households, the financial crisis was a 30-year debt correction in the making. Left with unmanageable debt levels and constricted access to credit, lower income groups have been forced to spend only what's in their pocket," Ellen Zentner and Paula Campbell, the authors, note.

Data on low-paying jobs comes from the Employment Outlook of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the think-tank for 34 mainly developed country governments defines "low-paying" as jobs that earn less than two-thirds of a country's median income (the mid-point where half of the population are above and half below). On average, around 16% of jobs in OECD countries are considered low-paying.

In the US, over 25% of all jobs in 2012 qualified and 22% in Ireland and Israel while South Korea is just behind the United States.

Sweden and Finland's rates are in single digits and Ireland's rate rose from 19% in 2002

The UK level is 21%.

The Morgan Stanley economists say that the Gini coefficient is a measure of income equality with zero reflects perfect equality, and a value of 100 reflects perfect inequality.

The note says that the US is an outlier with the average income in 2011 of the world's richest 10% at nine times that of the poorest 10%, but in the US, that ratio was 14 to 1.


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