The Bureau of Labor Statistics released an interesting chart Wednesday on paid vacation, building off a larger report on employee benefits published last week.
While overall access to paid vacation has been essentially flat since 2010, there have been significant changes beneath the surface. Take service workers: In 2010, 59 percent of workers in service jobs had access to paid vacation time; today only 55 percent do. But workers in maintenance and repair jobs have seen gains over the same period: 93 percent of them get paid time off, up from 90 percent in 2010.
It’s dangerous to read too much into year-to-year changes, especially when they’re just a few percentage points up or down. But the data does seem to fit with other evidence that the job market is increasingly bifurcated. People with trade skills, a college degree or other in-demand qualities are seeing increased opportunities and, in some cases, faster wage growth. Those further down the skills spectrum are seeing little wage growth; many are also stuck in part-time jobs, which are much less likely to offer benefits. (In 2014, 87 percent of full-time workers had access to paid vacation, and 78 percent got paid sick leave; for part-timers, those figures were 34 percent and 25 percent, respectively.)