Share Of American Workers Paid On An Hourly Basis Reaches 59 Percent

Your boss just doesn't need you that much -- just look at recent data on the way employees are getting paid.

Three in five American workers are now paid on an hourly basis, according to the Labor Department.

In 2011 on average, 59.1 percent of American workers were paid by the hour. That is an increase of 0.5 percent since 2010 and 1.5 percent since 2008, according to the Labor Department. (Hat tip: the Economist.)

The share of American workers getting paid by the hour has been rising since the 1970s, according to the Economist.

Employers have been particularly reluctant over the past few years to hire full-time permanent workers, who are more likely to receive a salary, because they are worried about the economy, according to the Wall Street Journal. Instead, employers have been opting to rely more on temporary and part-time workers and contractors.

There are a number of disadvantages to getting paid by the hour, according to Yahoo! Finance, including lower pay, getting passed over for promotions, stricter schedules and small or no bonuses.

Hourly workers typically have less job security, worse pay and worse benefits than salaried workers, according to Demand Media. For example, they often have worse health care coverage and less vacation time. During recessions, their employers can cut the number of hours they work, reducing their pay further. Hourly workers also can get fired without cause.

If workers' hourly pay is low, getting paid by the hour may be worth it only if they regularly work overtime. Hourly workers typically are entitled to get paid 1.5 times their regular hourly wage when they work overtime.

There is one category of worker that rakes in high pay by the hour: lawyers. While it's not all take-home pay, attorneys charge clients $150 per hour, according to PayScale, and $200 to $400 per hour in major metropolitan areas, according to the LexisNexis site

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