The U.S. economy is producing jobs, that much is clear. But whether those jobs are good jobs is less certain.Of the 230,000 private-sector jobs created in March, 199,000 of those were in the service sector. A large chunk of those jobs are in fields that are likely to provide a stable livelihood for those lucky enough to snag them –- like some of the 78,000 added in professional and business services. But that’s less certain for, say, the 37,000 new workers in the leisure and hospitality industry.To be sure, having a job is better than not having one, both for the individual and for economic output. But this recovery seems to be going hand-in-hand with workers taking lower-paying jobs. More than half of those full-time workers who lost jobs between 2007 and 2009 and then found full-time work by early last year said their new jobs came with lower wages. Some 36% saw a pay cut of 20% or more.That can be good news for companies, who are able to keep their labor costs low and hire talented workers, which can increase productivity. The flipside: it can downshift Americans’ spending and their standard of living.Academics have pointed out that, as jobs are coming back, they’re returning at the highest and the lowest levels. But the middle-class is being squeezed.
Friday, April 1, 2011
From The Wall Street Journal on April 1: