Lydia dePillis in The Washington Post examines whether the recent uptick in high-wage jobs indicates that the U.S. job market has made a full recovery.
“First of all, the economy is digging out of a big hole. This graph, from a 2014 paper by MIT economist David Autor, shows how in the period between 1999 and 2007 the share of low-wage occupations increased a lot, while middle and high-wage occupations were basically flat. Over the next five years represented by the green line, there was large growth in both low and high-wage occupations, while middle-wage occupations lost ground.”
“The last two years haven’t really fixed that: Overall between 2007 and 2015, low-wage occupations grew as a share of the labor market by 0.6 percent, middle-wage occupations shrank by 4 percent, and high-wage occupations grew by 0.3 percent. And people are still mostly making less money than they were before the recession: Median wages for low and middle-earning occupations sank 1.5 and 1.8 percent respectively, according to a breakdown by the Economic Policy Institute’s Dave Cooper.”
“The other problem: There’s still a large part of the labor force that’s been left out of the healthy growth in recent years, says MIT’s Autor, who has done much to establish how middle-wage jobs in fields like manufacturing have disappeared and not been replaced.”