After being out of work for more than a year, Donna Ings, 47, finally landed a job in February as a home health aide, earning about $10 an hour, with a company in Lexington, Mass.
Chelsea Nelson, 21, started two weeks ago as a waitress at a truck stop in Mountainburg, Ark., making around $7 or $8 an hour, depending on tips, ending a lengthy job search that took her young family to California and back.
Both are ostensibly economic success stories, people who were able to find work in a difficult labor market. Ms. Ing’s employer, Home Instead Senior Care, a company with franchises across the country, has been aggressively expanding. Ms. Nelson’s restaurant, Silver Bridge Truck Stop, recently reopened and hired about 20 people last month in an area thirsty for jobs.
Both women, however, took large pay cuts from their old jobs ”” Ms. Ing worked in the office of a wholesale tuxedo distributor; Ms. Nelson used to be a secretary. And both remain worried about how they will make ends meet in the long run.