Despite the nation's highest jobless rate in 26 years, American workers are seeing some encouraging trends this Labor Day, according to a report released Monday by Rutgers University.
In its second national labor scorecard, the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations said that for workers still collecting a paycheck, the average inflation-adjusted wages have actually increased and wage gaps for women and minorities have declined.
Still, the jobless rate continues to rise. The Labor Department last week said the unemployment rate jumped to 9.7 percent in August, the highest since 1983, reflecting a poor job market that will make it hard for the economy to begin a sustained recovery.
According to the study, nearly 17 percent of Americans are unemployed, discouraged from seeking work or underemployed. That's up from 10 percent last year.
"The bad news on unemployment is well-known. The risk of job loss has been quite stunning," said Rutgers professor Douglas Kruse, a labor economist who created the scorecard.
Kruse said some workers are adjusting by taking part-time jobs. According to the study, nearly 20 percent of workers have part-time jobs.