Employment gap between rich, poor widest on record

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An analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press shows the gap in employment rates between America's highest- and lowest-income families has stretched to its widest levels since officials began tracking the data a decade ago.

Rates of unemployment for the lowest-income families - those earning less than $20,000 - have topped 21 percent, nearly matching the rate for all workers during the 1930s Great Depression.

U.S. households with income of more than $150,000 a year have an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent, a level traditionally defined as full employment. At the same time, middle-income workers are increasingly pushed into lower-wage jobs. The analysis shows that many of them in turn are displacing lower-skilled, low-income workers, who become unemployed or are forced to work fewer hours.

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