Economists see fewer middle-income jobs

Economists predict a split job market — once employers start hiring — with well-paid jobs for the educated (lawyers, scientists and software engineers) and low-paid jobs for the low-skilled (store clerks and home health aides) and not much for folks in the middle.

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  1. It’d be a lot easier to generate some faith to go along with these predictions if economics had any track record of successful predictions.

  2. One big problem with these sorts of claims/predictions is that it tends to lump all lawyers together. And all computer programmers. And … well, you get the idea.

    A *lot* of programming jobs have gone overseas in the last decade or so, but as someone with a front-row view of this activity, I can say that the less demanding programming tasks are the ones that are more likely to go overseas. I suspect that the same can be said for lots of lawyering tasks, too.

    Alternately, it is very difficult to move plumbing repair offshore.

    -Mark Roulo

  3. So they must be claiming, among other things, that middle/low-level management positions will no longer exist? Does that seem at all plausible?

  4. Okay, they aren’t claiming those jobs will cease to exist, but the article does seem to be making the claim that the contraction of middle management, manufacturing and real estate jobs will be enough to destroy the middle class. I don’t see much support for that claim in the article, though. I suspect this is mainly sensationalist fear-mongering to sell more papers. 😛

  5. This continues the “college for all” obsession, and completely ignores the shortages and financial opportunities that exist for people with good trade skills.

    They mention “statistical analysis” as a growth area. Actually, some of these jobs will be highly subject to offshoring..just send your data to India and get it analyzed for half the price. Other statistical analysis jobs, such as Statistical Process Control in manufacturing, will often need to be located *where the manufacturing process is located*.

  6. With minimum wage at $7.25 an hour (a bit over $15,000 per year), you could argue that there are no more low-paying jobs. A person and their significant other, both making minimum wage, can totally make a go of it.

    That said, I think the main trend is going to be “fewer and fewer jobs for the unskilled.” Even for the skilled, constant upgrades are going to be required to stay employed. As a software guy, I’ve had to constantly upgrade my skills with new languages and technologies over the years. Anything less and my job would have been outsourced to India.

    This concept of life-long learning seems to have diminished over the years, even as the necessity of it has grown. The idea that you can graduate from college with a life-long set of skills is just ludicrous, no matter what field you’re in.