The hollowing of the middle in one graph
Gallup has new data out measuring the change in unemployment over the last year for workers with different levels of education. What you'll notice in the graph is that the number of jobs created has nothing to do with the number of jobs lost. Rather, it has to do with where the jobs were lost. Low-skill and high-skills jobs are coming back. The jobs in the middle aren't:
This is not new. It's the continuation -- and perhaps the acceleration -- of a multi-decade trend that MIT economist David Autor detailed in this paper (PDF):
The structure of job opportunities in the United States has sharply polarized over the past two decades, with expanding job opportunities in both high-skill, high-wage occupations and low-skill, low-wage occupations, coupled with contracting opportunities in middle-wage, middle-skill white-collar and blue-collar jobs. Concretely, employment and earnings are rising in both high education professional, technical, and managerial occupations and, since the late 1980s, in low-education food service, personal care, and protective service occupations. Conversely, job opportunities are declining in both middle-skill, white-collar clerical, administrative, and sales occupations and in middle-skill, blue-collar production, craft, and operative occupations.
Economies don't generally do well without a middle.
| February 16, 2011; 3:17 PM ET
Categories: Charts and Graphs, Economy
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