Everyone knows that most of the jobs created during the so-called recovery are not particularly good. Most of them are for very low pay and offer few if any benefits.
Not so, according to the Wall Street Journal:
were all the jobs we created since the recession bad? Well, yes and no. It’s true that many low-wage industries have been growing, many middle-wage industries have shrunk, and more people work part time or for minimum wage than did a decade ago. But it’s also true many middle- and high-wage industries are growing too, and the number of minimum wage and part-time workers has gradually been declining over the past five years.
Well, let’s see, according to the data they themselves provide. But let’s do it not in terms of percentage increases (because, obviously, a high percentage increase on a small basis doesn’t generate a lot of jobs) but, instead, in terms of the total number of employees (in the private sector).
Here’s what we end up with for the top ten economic sub-sectors:
|INDUSTRY||CHANGE SINCE DECEMBER 2007||AVERAGE WEEKLY PAY||NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES|
|Leisure and hospitality||14.1%||$383.41||15,459,000|
|Food services and drinking places||16.9%||$338.69||11,308,300|
|Specialty trade contractors||-10.7%||$1029.5||4,246,400|
|Food and beverage stores||8.1%||$439.5||3,096,500|
|Membership associations and organizations||0.5%||$813.58||2,967,200|
|Credit intermediation and related activities||-6.9%||$1131.9||2,598,400|
Consider that the average weekly pay (in April 2016) for all private-sector workers was $880.79.
Obviously, then, the two largest sub-sectors, in which there has been double-digit growth since December 2007, are Leisure and Hospitality and Food Services and Drinking Places. both of which have weekly earnings less than half the average for the entire private sector. You can add to that pattern of low-wage growth Employment Services and Food and Beverage Stores.
Meanwhile, three sectors that have traditionally paid middle-class wages—Construction, Speciality Trade Contractors, and Durable Goods—have seen declines in the number of jobs since the crash.
So, what are we left with? Hospitals, whose average is inflated by high-earning physicians and managers, which has seen job growth, and Credit Intermediation and Related Activities, which also has a high average, raised by well-compensated brokers and managers, which has actually seen a decline in the total number of jobs.*
The only possible conclusion is, that’s not a mixed picture. The current recovery can only be characterized as follows: the creation of plenty of low-wage jobs, the destruction of many formerly middle-income jobs, and an increase in jobs in one sector characterized by obscene levels of inequality.
Needless to say, workers are justifiably angry about the so-called economic recovery. Therefore, like the crew of the fabled ship, they’d have every right to hang a metaphorical albatross around the necks of the real-life descendants of the Ancyent Marinere.
*That just leaves Membership Associations and Organizations—and I have no idea what that is.