Reports from the Economic Front

a blog by Marty Hart-Landsberg

Poverty and Employment

What kind of jobs is our economy likely to create?  Every two years the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes a report which includes projections of how many jobs there will be in ten years and in which occupations.

The most recent one came out late last year.  Here is one interesting observation:

In 2008, only 21% of jobs required at least a bachelor’s degree.  In 2018, it will be 22%.  Not a big change.  There will be 51 million new jobs created over the next ten years; fewer than 12 million will require at least a bachelor’s degree.  We are actually producing more college educated workers each year than jobs requiring a college education.

The report includes a list of the 30 occupations with the largest projected growth over the next decade as well as their expected pay and training/educational requirements.    These top 30 occupations include about one half of all net new expected jobs.   What do these jobs look like?  Well:

24% are rated very high earnings jobs–which means earnings of $51,540 or more (in 2008 dollars).

21% are rated high earnings jobs–which means earnings between $32,390-$51,530.

29% are rated low earnings jobs–which means earnings between $21,590-$32,380.

26% are rated very low earnings jobs–which means earnings of less than $21,590.

Thus, 55% of the jobs in the top 30 will likely be quite low paying.  If that is the kind of job creation we can expect, there is no way we can hope to effectively fight poverty.  Said differently, faster job creation is no answer to poverty if our economy creates poverty level jobs.

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