It says one in five workers, not including those who own their own businesses, are paid based on sales or tips and that the economic downturn is hitting them hard. They’re part of the hidden costs of the slide, with effects that won’t show up in stats immediately.

You won’t find these people reflected in the latest job figures. Nor do the unemployment figures include people, such as most sales clerks, whose hours have been cut because consumer spending is down. Or the small-business owners whose sales have plummeted. Though they’ve not suffered as much as workers who have lost jobs, these people have seen their living standards fall, with far-reaching consequences for themselves and the overall economy.
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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.