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Center for Labor Research and Education

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Low-Wage Work in California Data Explorer

Low-Wage Work in California Data Explorer

With contributions by Annette Bernhardt and Sarah Thomason


  • The Low-Wage Work in California Data Explorer offers an in-depth look at the people who make up California’s low-wage workforce and provides users with graphics, tables, research summaries, interactive visualizations, and downloadable data. The explorer provides a wide range of information on the state’s low-wage workforce, including demographics, job characteristics, industries, occupations, use of public assistance programs, and geography.

    Wage inequality in California has increased dramatically since the late 1970s. Workers at the bottom and in the middle of the wage distribution have seen their earnings stagnate in real terms, after adjusting for inflation, while high-wage workers have seen their earnings rise sharply. Absent significant shifts in the policy or economic context, California’s low-wage jobs problem will likely continue, since official employment projections to 2024 do not show a substantial change to the state’s mix of jobs. The state’s minimum wage is scheduled to increase to $15 per hour by 2023, which should help raise pay for low-wage workers, but more work remains to be done.

    This project was made possible with a grant from The California Wellness Foundation.


  • One in three Californians gets low-wage jobs: study
    Xinhua | September 9, 2018

    UC Berkeley Labor Center study finds 1 in 3 Californian workers has low-wage job
    The Daily Californian | September 6, 2018

    1 in 3 Californians has a low-wage job, according to new UC Berkeley study
    Orange County Register | August 28, 2018

    Interactive data explorer offers in-depth look at California’s low-wage workforce
    Berkeley News | August 16, 2018