Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More middling ruminations

The Financial Times had some interesting assertions which I would really like to see some data on but unfortunately the article lacks links to any of them:

In short, the middle-skilled jobs that once formed the ballast of the world’s wealthiest middle class are disappearing. They are being supplanted by relatively low-skilled (and low-paid) jobs that cannot be replaced either by new technology or by offshoring – such as home nursing and landscape gardening. Jobs are also being created for the highly skilled, notably in science, engineering and management.

By supplanted, I assume the author means that there is a literal hollowing out of the middle so if I were to plot a histogram of all occupations-wage combinations I would literally see twin peaks, which I have yet to see.

… According to government statistics, if the same number of people were seeking work today as in 2007, the jobless rate would be 11 per cent. Some have moved from claiming unemployment benefits to disability benefits, and have thus permanently dropped out of the labour force.

Now here is something that I have often wondered about - does the unemployment rate fall over the course of the recovery because people are leaving the job market at a higher rate rather than the fact that there is greater job creation or an increase in the job finding rate?

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