Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

The November-December Review

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

The November-December Review

Article excerpt

In this volume, we have combined the November and December issues of the Review, in part to speed delivery and in part to spread out the materials available. For readers who track the Bureau's data through the Current Labor Statistics tables, please note that the November tables are presented in their entirety on pages 25 through 91 and only those tables that would have changed in December--the tables containing monthly data--have been produced in the supplementary section on pages 92 though 115.

In the lead article, Jared Bernstein and Maury Gittleman take advantage of the uniquely rich National Compensation Survey (NCS) data to examine the reasons low-wage workers receive their low pay. The NCS data are particularly suited for this task because they include information about the characteristics of a specific job that affect pay-setting for that position: knowledge required, complexity, scope, guidance received, physical demands, and so on. Analysis of these "leveling factors" shows that low-wage work is, in fact, concentrated in jobs that have low skill content. However, these factors don't explain everything: an independent variable marking jobs as "low-skilled" has significant explanatory power after controlling for specific skill content. …

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