Middle-Wage Jobs That Have Survived, and the States That Are Fostering Them

Source: Joshua Wright, EMSI, October 3, 2013

…New research from the Federal Reserve indicates the share of middle-skill jobs in the workforce has dropped from 25% in 1985 to just above 15% today, part of the hollowing-out effect that David Autor of MIT has documented. And as our chart above shows, middle-wage jobs — those that pay between $13.84 and $21.13 per hour, as defined by the National Employment Law Project — sustained much deeper cuts during the 2008-2009 recession than high- and low-wage jobs.

But not every middle-skill, middle-wage job is now extinct because of automation and offshoring. A subset of mid-wage manufacturing jobs (along with jobs in energy, health care, and other sectors) are among the healthiest post-recession occupations in the U.S. Furthermore, in a handful of states (Wyoming, Iowa, North Dakota, Michigan), mid-wage fields account for more than or close to 40% of all new jobs since 2010….

…For our analysis, we used middle-wage jobs instead of middle-skill jobs (i.e., those that require less than a bachelor’s degree but more than a high school degree). This is because some occupations that the BLS has assigned a mid level of education (e.g., registered nurses) often require a higher level of education by employers….