Changes in the Structure and Quality of Jobs in the United States: Effects by Race and Gender, 1973â€“1990
Using 17 measures of job quality from the 1980 Census, the Current Population Survey, and the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, the authors perform a cluster analysis that groups 621 jobs covering 94% of the work force into six job categories (termed â€œcontoursâ€ ), a job classification closely resembling those suggested by labor market segmentation theory. The distribution of employment over the period 1973â€“90 shifted sharply away from the two middle-quality contours toward the two highest-quality contours. The two lowest-quality contours show no decline in employment share in the 1980s. The declining relative position of employed black and Hispanic men stems from both a worsening job mix relative to white men and a sharp drop in the quality of low-skill jobs. Female workers experienced both a greater shift away from jobs in the lower-quality contours and higher real earnings growth within each job contour than male workers.