After being out of work for more than a year, Donna Ings, 47, finally landed a job in February as a home health aide with a company in Lexington, Mass., earning about $10 an hour.
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. Ings’s employer, Home Instead Senior Care, a company with franchises across the country, has been expanding assertively. 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. Ings worked for a wholesale tuxedo distributor, Ms. Nelson was a secretary. And both remain worried about how they will make ends meet in the long run.