Deindustrialization in the United States has triggered record-setting joblessness in manufacturing centers from Detroit to Baltimore. At the same time, global competition and technological change have actually stimulated both new businesses and new jobs. The jury is still out, however, on how many of these positions represent a significant source of long-term job quality and security. And the US labor market remains the most unequal in the industrialized world with an ever-widening wage gap between the top 1 percent of earners and the rest of the American labor force. Where are All the Good Jobs Going? addresses the most pressing questions for today s workers: whether the US labor market can still produce jobs with good pay and benefits for the majority of workers and whether these jobs can remain stable over time. What constitutes a good job, who gets them, and are they becoming more or less secure? Where are All the Good Jobs Going? examines US job quality and volatility from the perspectives of both workers and employers. The authors analyze the Longitudinal Employer Household Dynamics (LEHD) data compiled by the US Census Bureau, which comprises wage records on individual workers and employers, linked to survey data from such sources as the US Census and the Current Population Survey. The book covers data for twelve states during eleven years, 1992 2003, resulting in an unprecedented examination of workers and firms in several industries over time. Counter to conventional wisdom, the authors find, good jobs are not disappearing but their character and location have changed. The market produces fewer good jobs in manufacturing and more in professional services and finance. Not surprisingly, the best jobs with the highest pay still go to the most educated workers. The most vulnerable workers older, low-income, and low-skilled work in the most insecure environments where they can be easily downsized or displaced in a fickle labor market. These workers suffer greater earnings loss than those who leave their jobs voluntarily and they are hardest hit by the inability to find a comparable position elsewhere. A higher federal minimum wage and increased unionization can contribute to the creation of good paying jobs. So can economic strategies that help smaller metropolitan areas support new businesses. These efforts, however, must function in tandem with policies that prepare workers for available positions, such as improving general educational attainment, providing career education and skill-building, and supporting the efforts of those who take on low-wage work with health care, tax credits, and affordable transportation.The challenges American workers face are significant, and Where are All the Good Jobs Going? makes clear that future policies will need to address not only how to produce good jobs but how to produce good workers. This cohesive study takes the necessary first steps with a sensible approach to the needs of workers and the firms that hire them.
Business & Investing, Economics,