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Keywords:

  • low wages;
  • working poor;
  • living wage;
  • job design;
  • career development;
  • vocational training;
  • USA

Abstract.

Despite the recent strength of the United States job market, about one fifth of the private-sector workforce is in poor-quality employment, earning poverty-level wages or less, with scant prospects for improvement. Against this background, the article focuses on demand-side policies, aimed at influencing firms' decision-making in the direction of better quality employment. Describing and evaluating a variety of programmes pursued to that end, the author argues for more policy coherence and a balanced approach combining training and economic development programmes working directly with employers, on the one hand, and increased unionization and better wage and working-time standards, on the other.