Happy new year to our PCV community!
As we turned the corner into a new year and a new decade, America’s unemployment rate is at a half-century low. At the same time, we have a job-quality problem that affects nearly half the population, and is only getting worse with continued pressure from automation, globalization, and rising wealth and income inequality. Even though the official unemployment rate is now hovering around 3.8%, a study from the Brookings Institute finds 44% of U.S. workers are employed in low-wage jobs that pay median annual wages of $18,000. A new measure called the Job Quality Index recently found the number of low-paying jobs is far outpacing jobs with above-average pay.
Many of those low-paying jobs are clustered in the retail sector. More Americans work in retail than in manufacturing, the energy sector, or in government. That’s 16 million people. Retail workers include salespersons, cashiers, stock clerks, and first-line supervisors and managers. The median annual wages of these employees range from $20,160 on average for cashiers to $38,870 for supervisors/managers. The retail workforce is slightly more female, African-American, and Hispanic than the overall workforce.
At Pacific Community Ventures, we’ve seen firsthand though our work with small businesses and impact investors that job creation alone is insufficient to create lasting economic change in underinvested communities. We view the advancement of good-quality jobs as an important avenue to better support our communities and address rising income and wealth inequality across the U.S.
As part of our vision to make good-quality job creation the norm, we have to equip small businesses with the practical tools and resources they need to offer higher-quality jobs in a way that also boosts their bottom line and reduces attrition rates. That’s why we want to announce several new investments in PCV’s integrated “Good Jobs, Good Business” model. Thank you to City National Bank, HSBC, Union Bank, and Capital One!
These recent investments – which will enable entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and create good local jobs – leverage support from other forward-thinking funders. This new “Good Jobs, Good Business” approach is helping small business owners grow revenue and create jobs that pay average wages of $20 per hour, and over half their workers so far have health benefits, paid time off, know their schedules weeks in advance, and/or get opportunities to build new skills for their careers.
Investments in PCV’s model aren’t the only way that organizations are advancing good jobs. In 2020 we’re working to scale up our national partnerships with companies and organizations trying to do right by small business owners and their workers.
- We’ve worked with the eBay and Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, where we provided mentoring to business owners in economically distressed areas, creating supportive relationships beyond the end of the programs.
- PCV has partnered with companies that create tools for small businesses, including Intuit, to connect their employees with the small business community they serve.
- Google.org and DoorDash have partnered with PCV to offer BusinessAdvising.org to their merchants, strengthening their brands as platforms that care about success for business owners.
We cannot do this alone. Join us – as a company offering business advising as an employee engagement opportunity to your team; or as an individual with expertise to offer that small businesses can benefit from.
And if you, like us, care about more good businesses creating good jobs in your community, please contact us today to become trained in providing our Good Jobs, Good Business toolkit to small business owners, the first cohort of its kind being launched in the coming months!
Thank you for your support!
President & CEO, Pacific Community Ventures