New data from suggests low-wage jobs will grow faster than ‘middle-wage’ and ‘high-wage’ jobs over the next five years.

Edwina Barnard, 42, hadn’t looked for a job since 2009, when a health issue forced her to leave her position as a human resources professional for a nonprofit.

But her doctor recently declared her healthy enough to work again and so she sent out about 30 applications over the past month. She already drew some interest from one employer, but didn’t get the position.

“It’s a good job market,” says the Hampton, Ga., resident, noting that helped encourage her to revive her career. “I love being employed. I didn’t get my masters (in human resources) to sit around the house.”

A vibrant labor market in which employers are struggling to find workers continues to draw hundreds of thousands of Americans back into the labor force, which includes people working and looking for jobs. The shift is especially lifting less-educated workers in their prime working years — many of whom had grown discouraged and stopped job-hunting — teens, older workers and the disabled, Labor Department and UBS figures show.


U.S. employers added 209,000 jobs in July, a second straight month of robust gains that underscore the economy’s vitality as it enters a ninth year of expansion. (Aug. 4)

Many economists expected the labor force participation rate — the share of Americans in the labor force — to resume its long-term decline after recording a sharp run up, from 62.4% to 63%, in late 2015 and early 2016. The belief was that most Americans on the sidelines already had been enticed back into the favorable job market and any others straggling back in would be overwhelmed by the retirement of an average 10,000 Baby Boomers a day.

More: U.S. weekly requests for jobless…