Good pay is getting harder to find for unskilled or semiskilled retail, service or low-tech factory work, according to Changing Times, the Kiplinger Magazine. A McDonald's in Columbia, Md., advertises $5.75 an hour on huge signs that dwarf those for a 69-cent burger promotion. An inventory service in Oklahoma City offers $6 an hour for work nights and weekends auditing store shelves. That's high compared with most such jobs, which now offer $4 to $5 an hour - where they are available.
Even skilled workers are feeling the squeeze. Non-supervisory industrial wages are barely higher today than they were a year ago, reports the Labor Department. Hourly pay is dropping in many industries. With job prospects poor in the relatively well-paid construction sector, more workers will be searching for jobs that don't pay as well. Retraining can help, but the American Society for Training and Development says it will take $15 billion to train the millions of people who need basic skills.