Category: Employment, Think Tank

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

11 Responses to “The Vanishing Middle: Job Polarization and Workers’ Response to the Decline in Middle-Skill Jobs”

  1. TLH says:

    Our government is responsible in large part for this by way of our tax code. We should be doing everything possible to lower the cost of employment. I estimate that it costs me 40% more to hire a person than I pay them. It has to make economic sense to hire someone. Our government continues to raise the cost of employment. Something new since the last recession are employees getting hired so they can get fired for doing a poor job. They can then qualify for unemployment compensation by doing this. The paperwork has increased on all levels for the government. This is not productive to earnings. Small businesses cannot handle this as well as large businesses. Government and its tax code is responsible for the lack of economic activity. Free money for the big boys does nothing for small business. Thus the poor recovery continues.

    • Goddamn democracy ! When are we going to become a dictatorship so we can get these things right?

    • ottnott says:

      “Something new since the last recession are employees getting hired so they can get fired for doing a poor job. They can then qualify for unemployment compensation by doing this.”

      Let’s test the likelihood of this.

      1) requires a business making new hires to somehow, in spite of the huge numbers of applications most openings attract, select applicants who are out to play the unemployment insurance system
      2) requires that the scamming new hire work satisfactorily long enough to qualify for UI payments
      3) requires that the scamming new hire then do a poor enough job to get fired, without doing a poor enough job to meet the “misconduct” standard and risk being ruled ineligible for UI payments
      4) requires employee willing to wait through an unpaid waiting period (usually a week or two) for benefits
      5) requires employee satisfied with benefits substantially below what the job was paying
      6) requires employee to then satisfy job-hunting requirements without getting any job offer (admittedly, not tough to do)
      7) requires employee willing to accept that, when benefits run out, employee has to reenter the job market with a gap in employment and no chance of a positive recommendation from the most recent employer

      My BS meter is pegged.

      Sure, it could happen, and so probably has happened. But there is zero chance that this is new or that the number of cases is enough to have any economic impact or require any policy response. A business would have to do a really poor job of hiring in an employer’s market and an employee with the skills to plan the scam, get hired, and then carefully calibrate performance before and after the eligibility period is completed would have to be willing to accept far less income and economic security than those skills could earn in continuous employment.

    • wnsrfr says:

      TLH, sounds like you don’t have the demand for your products to justify hiring more people. I’m also wondering what your comment has to do about the polarization of job skill types this article covers?

  2. Gnatman says:

    A fourth choice when added to the Hi, middle, low job skills is the Corporate retention of gains in the past 30 years.

  3. GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

    TLH- You may have hired a now-former employee who was dumb enough to take a job for a short time so they could “get unemployment”. But unemployment benefits are based on the individual’s earnings, and if all the former employee has are a few weeks earnings, they won’t get much.

    I’d argue that your problem isn’t so much the cost of employment as a combination of lack of revenue and/or low margins, both of which result from increased competition for fewer customer dollars. Our current economic problems aren’t like former recessions which required a few quarters to work our way out of. It’s much more like the Great Depression, which required almost a generation to reverse, and that time would have been longer if WWII had happened.

    Finally, can you explain how you’re paying 40% of an employee’s wages in “taxes”? I can see 40% if you include health and WC insurance, a retirement plan, and the like. But the only two significant taxes on payroll I’m aware of are Social Security and Unemployment, with perhaps some sort of local “head tax” in a few cities.

  4. bear_in_mind says:

    @TLH: I wonder exactly which Red State you reside? The reason I ask is that you might want to engage in some research about the “‘Moocher’ Paradox in Red States” which your posting appears to emphasize:

    Also, here’s a companion piece worth considering:
    New Twinkies Will Have a Missing Ingredient: Union Labor

  5. chartist says:

    Maybe the author should cruise through Indiana and Kentucky sometime. Toyota and Ford are strong and growing. Japan is going to transfer more of their Lexus manufacturing to middle America as they crush the Yen. They are moving to the right to work states, right up the middle of the country. There are jobs, but you have to move to the jobs, they won’t necessarily come to you. Indiana is one god-awful state so you better love the job.

  6. chartist says:

    I’ll tell you how bad it is in Indiana and Illinois…Workers are getting repetitive stress injuries, getting huge worker’s comp benefits, leaving the company and getting rehired down the road in nearly the same job. The auto companies, trying to avoid the union states, are setting up shop next to each other in rural areas of Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana and Mississippi. The problem is, there’s not much of an employee base so injured employees collect a workers comp settlement then go to another employer down the road….I know, I work for a major auto company. In some areas, there’s employee recycling going on!

  7. victor says:

    “The decline in the employment share of middle-skill jobs has been associated with a number of sweeping changes affecting the economy, including advancement of technology, outsourcing of jobs overseas, and contractions that have occurred in manufacturing”.

    The same “sweeping changes” may well now act in reverse: advancement in technology: domestic shale oil and gas production for example or cloud tech; outsourcing of jobs: wait! they’re coming back, China’s labor costs are catching up with ours; manufacturing contractions: no longer, manufacturing is rebounding thanks to a combo of low energy costs and economic growth (some anyway)….