News & Politics

The Bronx May be Up But Its Wages Are the Lowest

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Here’s a new study on city salaries that ought to be on top of Mayor Bloomberg’s holiday reading pile and which helps explain why Bronx residents and political leaders were pushing so hard to win a living-wage for any new jobs created by the city at the mammoth Kingsbridge Armory: The Bronx has the highest share of low-wage workers of any borough, reports the Center for an Urban Future.

Some 42 percent of Bronx workers make less than $11.54 an hour, or $24,000 a year, reports the study by CUF director Jonathan Bowles and David Giles. That’s opposed to Manhattan where just 22 percent of residents make that little. Staten Islanders are about the same, with 23 percent logging in at that that low-wage mark. Meanwhile, roughly a third of workers in Queens (34 percent), and Brooklyn (32 percent) are working for that level of low wages.

“It’s not hard to see why the wage issue would prove to be such a sticking point in the Bronx,” writes CUF. “While the percentage of low-wage earners is high across the city, the Bronx is far and away the leader.”

Overall, 28 percent of New York City workers are laboring for low pay, while the state-wide figure is 31 percent.

The culprits are the usual suspects: “Manufacturing jobs that once provided a ticket to the middle class for people with only a high-school degree or less have continued to decline,” reports the Center, while “un-credentialed [those lacking college degrees] workers are increasingly forced into low-paying jobs in the service sector as a result.”

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