Manufacturing jobs are growing across the south with promises of better work. But a recent study finds many in this workforce are reporting low job quality.
Mississippi manufacturing workers report low job quality
Policy center Jobs to Move America has polled manufacturing workers across Mississippi and Alabama to rate their satisfaction with their current job. Workers reported some of their needs are being met, but there are several areas that fall below what is desired in a quality job. Emily Erickson with the University of Warwick says those factors go beyond salaries and benefits.
“Because all of these other factors are things that we experience at work and really have a serious implication for how we feel as workers and how we are able to engage with our families and communities,” says Erickson.
While job aspects such as pay, terms of employment, and employee pride were identified as partially successful, the report found major disparities in job safety, representation, and work-life balance.
Erica Iheme with Jobs to Move America says many manufacturers are receiving large tax breaks and other incentives to relocate to the South. She says these companies are bringing promises of better jobs for residents, but are not fully delivering on that promise.
Iheme says “In the absence of this report, we’re only going on gut and an assumption. Now we have evidence that people are feeling the pressure of working in places where they, I love that quote ‘golden handcuffs.’ Like you’re paid good, but you’re stuck.”
Respondents to the study also reported a significant wage and job quality gap across racial and gender lines.
Labor experts on the panel say it’s often easy for outside manufacturers to stifle worker and community concerns as they are the primary financial hub of rural and underserved areas.