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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Job Polarization Was a Story of the 1990s, Not the 2000s

Job Polarization Was a Story of the 1990s, Not the 2000s

Monday, 18 August 2014 04:18

The Washington Post had an article reporting on the more rapid job growth in higher paying sectors of the economy in the last six years. At one point the piece tells readers:

"Even before the recession began, the economy was experiencing what academics call job polarization: growth at the high and low ends of the pay scale, but not much movement in the middle. Two major factors drove this shift: new technologies that replaced some skilled workers and increased competition from the international labor market."

Actually this is not true. Since 2000 both high and middle wage occupations were declining as a share of total employment. Only low-paying occupations saw an increase in their share of total employment.

Comments (2)Add Comment
Definition of Optimism: It Could Have Been Worse
written by Last Mover, August 18, 2014 6:22
“For the jobs in the middle, maybe the ones that are going have all gone, and now you’re growing from a lower base,” Mellman said.

Well that explains the discreptancy doesn't it. It's like raising the employment rate by forcing all those unemployed workers out of the labor force by jerking away their nanny state hammocks.

What better way to explain decline of the middle class as unavoidable job polarization caused by the free market forces of technology and global competition?

Any economist knows that "growth" is always calculated as the addition of absolute net amounts to a given sector, never as a share of the sector to all sectors combined.

Now stop your whining and pick yourselves up from where you started America. When you count things the way the sock puppets do you are always better off ... because you started from so far behind.
Lazy reporting
written by Dave, August 18, 2014 8:16
Reporters are very lazy. They just can't help themselves from trying to regurgitate decades old data to avoid having to do any new leg work.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.