2010 August 29 Sunday
Fastest Growing Jobs Have Below Average Pay

In the United States the occupations where jobs are growing most rapidly feature below average pay.

While a lack of jobs is arguably the biggest problem facing the labor market, another major concern is the quality of the jobs that are being created. The Figure presents the five fastest growing occupations between 2006 and 2009 and shows that all but one of them pays below the median wage in May 2009 of $15.95 an hour. The two fastest-growing occupations, home health care and food preparation and serving, pay closer to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour than the median wage. A food preparation worker’s typical wage of $8.28 an hour would earn an annual salary of $16,560, based on a typical 2,000-hour work year: That salary is just below the 2009 poverty threshold for a family of three. Warehouse stock clerks, another fast-growing occupation, would earn slightly more than $20,000 per year.

Got few skills? Don't get stuck as a food prep cook (been there, done that, btw), Aim high: Warehouse stock clerk. Yes, you could make $20k per year.

The health care industry is booming by sucking in an increasing fraction of GDP.

In addition, three of the five fastest growing occupations – home health aide, medical assistant and registered nurse -- are in the health care industry. While registered nurses earn a median wage of more than $30 an hour, the disproportionate growth in health care jobs points to a lack of robust job growth across the labor market. The most recent jobs data show that every industry – with the exception of health care, education, and the government – has fewer jobs today than before the recession began, strong evidence that demand is weak across the entire economy.

In part due to immigration the younger and less skilled face a brutal job market with very high unemployment.

  • Younger and less-educated natives often do the same jobs as immigrants. In the second quarter of 2010, in the occupations employing the most young and less-educated U.S.-born adults, one in five workers was an immigrant.

  • In the second quarter of 2010, the unemployment rate for U.S.-born adults who have not completed high school was 20.8 percent. But even in the second quarter of 2007, before the recession, it was 11.1 percent.

  • Using the broader measure of unemployment that includes those who want to work, but have not looked recently, and those forced to work part-time, the rate for those who haven’t completed high school was 29.3 percent in the second quarter of 2010 and 18.7 percent in the same quarter of 2007.

  • The unemployment rate for U.S.-born workers, ages 18 to 29, who have only a high school education was 20 percent in the second quarter of 2010 and 9.6 percent in 2007.

  • The broader measure of unemployment for 18- to 29-year-old U.S.-born workers with only a high school education was 29.2 percent in the second quarter of 2010 and 16.6 percent in 2007.

These young unemployed people aren't gaining work experiences that would make them more valuable in the job market. It is short-sighted to let in millions of low skilled illegal aliens to compete with America's youth for jobs.

With 47% of Hispanics dropping out of high school and Hispanics the fastest growing population segment in America the unemployment rates for young workers look set to stay quite high. The American economy has little use for all the low skilled workers crowding into the US labor market. Yet our elites keep trying to bring in still more unqualified workers to drive down wages even lower.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2010 August 29 12:16 AM  Economics Labor

Dave in Seattle said at August 29, 2010 1:05 AM:

It is short-sighted to let in millions of low skilled illegal aliens to compete with America's youth for jobs.

It is not short-sighted. It serves the very long-range goals of the policy makers. They are not stupid, they are hostile.

Sgt. Joe Friday said at August 29, 2010 10:36 AM:

Well said Dave. And what do young men do when they don't have jobs? They drink, fight, gang bang, and get their GFs pregnant.

Black Death said at August 29, 2010 1:58 PM:

Health care is the closest thing to a sure bet in today's rotten economy. Of course, the best jobs require at least a BS, and many call for an advanced degree. Physicians are at the top of the feeding chain, with subspecialists often pulling down high six-figure incomes. Of course, the road to that lofty perch is long, expensive and arduous, and the work is difficult and stressful. But jobs in nursing, pharmacy, medical technology, dietetics, occupational/physical therapy, etc., are still good ones with incomes often in the $50-100K range. Any young person who wants to be pretty much assured of a good job right out of college should definitely consider a health care career.

Young people with only a high school degree will be lucky even to get jobs as food service workers or stock clerks, and that's probably what they'll be doing the rest of their lives. This is clearly the worst job market since the Great Depression, and it took WW II to put an end to that. I'm not sure when this current situation is going to improve - maybe never. Karl Marx said:

"Big industry constantly requires a reserve army of unemployed workers for times of overproduction. The main purpose of the bourgeois in relation to the worker is, of course, to have the commodity labour as cheaply as possible, which is only possible when the supply of this commodity is as large as possible in relation to the demand for it, i.e., when the overpopulation is the greatest. Overpopulation is therefore in the interest of the bourgeoisie, and it gives the workers good advice which it knows to be impossible to carry out. Since capital only increases when it employs workers, the increase of capital involves an increase of the proletariat, and, as we have seen, according to the nature of the relation of capital and labour, the increase of the proletariat must proceed relatively even faster. The... theory... which is also expressed as a law of nature, that population grows faster than the means of subsistence, is the more welcome to the bourgeois as it silences his conscience, makes hard-heartedness into a moral duty and the consequences of society into the consequences of nature, and finally gives him the opportunity to watch the destruction of the proletariat by starvation as calmly as other natural event without bestirring himself, and, on the other hand, to regard the misery of the proletariat as its own fault and to punish it. To be sure, the proletarian can restrain his natural instinct by reason, and so, by moral supervision, halt the law of nature in its injurious course of development." - Karl Marx, Wages, December 1847


Was he right?

The Sanity Inspector said at August 29, 2010 4:17 PM:

Reminds me of a cartoon I saw in the '91 recession, that could apply now:

Man in diner reading newspaper: "It says here that the economy added 50,000 jobs last quarter."
Waitress pouring him a cup of coffee: "I know, I've got three of them."

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