More than 80 percent of workers in the private sector are not paid enough, according to a report released Wednesday by the Economic Policy Institute, an economic policy research group.
That means they need to work longer hours, and they need more paid leave.
“We are at a tipping point in the labor market,” said Michael Greenstone, the institute’s senior fellow.
The number of Americans who are working part-time jobs has risen more than 200 percent since 2000, he said.
Read moreThe report found that half of Americans, or 51 million people, are working less than 40 hours a week, and nearly a third, or 26 million people are working more than 40.
Those numbers represent a large portion of the workforce.
“What we have to recognize is that the number of hours worked is not the same thing as the amount of pay earned,” said Chris Ziegler, an economist at the Economic Research Service, a nonpartisan think tank.
“If you are making less than minimum wage and you are working overtime, that’s a pretty big problem,” he said, adding that many workers will see their pay fall because they are working longer hours.
“You’re going to see more people lose their jobs than if you just hired them,” Ziegling said.
The report also found that in the last year, there have been more than 3.7 million new federal job openings.
That’s about 7 percent of all jobs created.
The institute noted that nearly a quarter of all the jobs lost in the past decade were in the service sector, such as construction, cleaning and utilities.
That includes more than 5 million jobs in food service and other low-paying jobs.
“In terms of people working full-time, we have a problem with our economy and our labor market, because there are so many people who want to work part- or full- time jobs,” Greenstone said.
“There is a shortage of people who can do that.
They need to be able to support themselves.”
A growing number of jobs are being outsourced or taken off the books, the report said.
Nearly 30 million jobs have been taken off public and private assistance since 2010.
That makes up about 5 percent of the labor force.
The Institute for Policy Studies, a conservative think tank, said the jobs report is “another reminder of the need for Congress to address the root causes of the Great Recession.”
The government has cut the number and pace of public assistance checks, the government has also cut wages and benefits for many people.
But it’s still far from enough to support all Americans, said economist Richard Frye of the Brookings Institution.
“There are so few people who are able to take advantage of that, and then we are left with a huge number of people,” Frye said.