Sharon September 6th, 2012
In case you missed this article last week, we find what most of us have already guessed – a lot of the much-vaunted “new job creation” is crappy, ill-paid make work without much future – and yet again, people who could once earn a living are now struggling to manage bad jobs:
The report looked at 366 occupations tracked by the Labor Department and clumped them into three equal groups by wage, with each representing a third of American employment in 2008. The middle third — occupations in fields like construction, manufacturing and information, with median hourly wages of $13.84 to $21.13 — accounted for 60 percent of job losses from the beginning of 2008 to early 2010.
The job market has turned around since then, but those fields have represented only 22 percent of total job growth. Higher-wage occupations — those with a median wage of $21.14 to $54.55 — represented 19 percent of job losses when employment was falling, and 20 percent of job gains when employment began growing again.
Lower-wage occupations, with median hourly wages of $7.69 to $13.83, accounted for 21 percent of job losses during the retraction. Since employment started expanding, they have accounted for 58 percent of all job growth.
The occupations with the fastest growth were retail sales (at a median wage of $10.97 an hour) and food preparation workers ($9.04 an hour). Each category has grown by more than 300,000 workers since June 2009.
At the same time that the cost of a college education has skyrocketed well past the rate of inflation, those without college degrees are being squeezed out, as are young college graduates. This represents a deep and really disturbing change in the way the economy works, and one unlikely to turn around – instead, we’re seeing the reality – you can’t afford to get an advanced degree, and you can’t get a job without one. This is the gradual elimination of the middle class – and it ain’t going away.