According to GAO's analysis of data in the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS), on average, low-wage workers worked fewer hours per week, were more highly concentrated in a few industries and occupations, and had lower educational attainment than workers earning hourly wages above $16 in each year GAO reviewed-1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2016. Their percentage of the U.S. workforce also stayed relatively constant over time. About 40 percent of the U.S. workforce ages 25 to 64 earned hourly wages of $16 or less (in constant 2016 dollars) over the period 1995 through 2016. The combination of low wages and few hours worked compounded the income disadvantage of low-wage workers and likely contributed to their potential eligibility for federal social safety net programs. (Author abstract)
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