A new report shows that there’s still decent growth in jobs worth $53,000 or more a year, but that people under that line are hurting badly:
Many middle-wage occupations, those with average earnings between $32,000 and $53,000, have collapsed. Jobs in the middle include traditionally blue-collar occupations such as truck drivers, welders and auto mechanics. There are 900,000 fewer workers in these occupations than there were before the recession, the report finds.
“It used to be recessions were pauses and people went back to the same job distribution, but that’s not true anymore,” said Anthony Carnevale, an economist at Georgetown and the report’s lead author. “A lot of the jobs in the rearview mirror aren’t coming back.”
The report provides evidence that the middle of the U.S. labor market is hollowing out. Good jobs are primarily available to college graduates—of the 2.9 million higher-wage jobs added since 2010, the authors estimate that 2.8 million went to workers with at least a bachelor’s degree.
But middle-skilled jobs, which once provided a stable living for those with less education, have been replaced with low-wage work.
Automation and outsourcing — the inevitable results of certain technological advances, but also of high corporate taxes, mandated benefits, and overregulation — are just killing the folks who work below the upper middle class and above the welfare cases.
And the process is really just beginning. There are millions and millions of decent jobs which will cease to exist, far sooner than almost anyone is prepared for.