As America digests its latest employment report, it’s clear there are jobs out there. But what kinds of jobs they are has changed — leaving out one class of workers much more than others.
Zoom out from Trump’s “rusted out factories scattered like tombstones” and a bigger, if not prettier, picture ratchets into focus.
“We are in the midst of a shift from being primarily a product economy to a knowledge economy,” said NBC business correspondent Ali Velshi. Those without the knowledge aren’t participating in it: We don’t have a jobs gap. We have a skills gap.
Jobs are rising but what kind of jobs there are have shifted. One example: Since President Reagan, manufacturing jobs have down while professional and business services employment is up. Ben Popken / BLS
Since President Reagan, tectonic upheavals in the American economy have driven jobs like those in manufacturing down, while fields like professional services have risen.
Change means both creation and destruction. For one out-of-work coal miner and his family, or a community that’s become a ghost town, that can be hard to swallow.
Yet the data shows that overall we have more people working today than ever before. And there are more jobs open today than in the last 16 years, CNBC notes.
But those jobs aren’t for everyone. That’s the rub that became a national conflagration.
The slow economic recovery has left out workers with a high school education more than others. Their unemployment rates spiked higher during the 2008 recession and have yet to recover.
Meanwhile, those with higher education are at least treading water. Not that they’re all doing so well either.
“Real family incomes have been inching up in the past couple of years, but for many families that does not compensate them for the losses they suffered between 2007 and 2010,” said Gary Burtless, an economist at the left-leaning Brookings Institute.