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Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone?

Author

Listed:
  • John Schmitt
  • Janelle Jones

Abstract

The U.S. workforce is substantially older and better-educated than it was at the end of the 1970s. The typical worker in 2010 was seven years older than in 1979. In 2010, over one-third of US workers had a four-year college degree or more, up from just one-fifth in 1979. Given that older and better-educated workers generally receive higher pay and better benefits, we would have expected the share of “good jobs” in the economy to have increased in line with improvements in the quality of workforce. Instead, the share of “good jobs” in the U.S. economy has actually fallen. The estimates in this paper, which control for increases in age and education of the population, suggest that relative to 1979 the economy has lost about one-third (28 to 38 percent) of its capacity to generate good jobs. The data show only minor differences between 2007, before the Great Recession began, and 2010, the low point for the labor market. The deterioration in the economy's ability to generate good jobs reflects long-run changes in the U.S. economy, not short-run factors related to the recession or recent economic policy.

Suggested Citation

  • John Schmitt & Janelle Jones, 2012. "Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone?," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2012-20, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
  • Handle: RePEc:epo:papers:2012-20
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    File URL: http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/good-jobs-2012-07.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Baker,Dean, 2007. "The United States since 1980," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521677554, May.
    2. John Schmitt, 2005. "How Good is the Economy at Creating Good Jobs?," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2005-33, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    3. Hye Jin Rho & John Schmitt, 2010. "Health-Insurance Coverage Rates for US Workers, 1979-2008," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2010-06, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    4. Baker,Dean, 2007. "The United States since 1980," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521860178, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    good jobs; retirement; pensions; health insurance; wages; labor; education;

    JEL classification:

    • J - Labor and Demographic Economics
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • I - Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development

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