18 Sep. 2019 | Comments (0)
This column was initially published by USA Today. Continue reading here.
Monthly reports on the number of new jobs and the unemployment rate can drown out important trends like these two: After four decades of worsening, wage inequality has started shrinking. And in a twist, America’s blue-collar workers are playing the biggest role in driving that reversal.
This may come as a surprise, because education is classically seen as a ladder up the income scale. Despite blue-collar workers often lacking college degrees, their wages have been accelerating faster than those of their white-collar counterparts.
For example: In the past three years, white-collar workers, the sector that the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies as “Management, Professional, and Related Occupations” and which encompasses 40% of the workforce, have seen their wages grow by nearly 7.5%. During the same period, all other workers, a group composed almost entirely of noncollege grads, have seen their paychecks grow by about 10 percent.
Moreover, that wage jump has reached not just traditional working-class mainstays, where men make up the majority. It also has reached many workers in women-dominated blue-collar jobs — for example, health support workers and personal care workers.
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