New data confirm need for livable wages for retailers and service industry workers

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirm the need for livable wages for retailers and workers in the service industry.  The new data show that workers in the retail industry typically make about $25,000 per year—a far cry from the nation’s average annual pay of $45,790.

The retail sector is the largest industry by employment in the United States, and is projected to add almost 1.8 million jobs between 2010 and 2020—more than any other industry except construction. Although the retail sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country, many retail workers are struggling to survive in low-wage jobs with inconsistent hours and few benefits.

Academic studies, including a recent report by Demos, provide quantitative evidence that retailers, workers and the U.S. economy can benefit if retail companies invest in their workforce.  According to the Demos report, raising wages for full-time retail workers at the nation’s largest retail companies (those employing at least 1,000 workers) would result in improving the lives of more than 1.5 million retail workers and their families who are currently living in or hovering above poverty.

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