Monday :: Aug 9, 2004

More On The Job Quality Debate

by Steve

Both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times take a whack at the issue of how well paying are the jobs that have been created in the Bush economy. The piece by Edmund Andrews of the NYT, in which he correctly states that there has been job growth in the higher pay ranges, makes the following points:

In contrast to previous recoveries, when companies rehired a large proportion of laid-off workers, manufacturers have added only 91,000 jobs this year, having eliminated more than two million jobs in the previous three years.

But a growing number of analysts say the evidence increasingly suggests that the current recovery has indeed been tilted toward lower-paying jobs.

Industries ranked in the bottom fifth for wages and salaries have added 477,000 jobs since January, while industries in the top fifth for wages had no increase at all, according to an analysis of Labor Department payroll data by, an economic research firm.

"Since employment peaked, we've lost many more higher-paying jobs than lower-paying jobs,'' said Mark Zandi, chief economist at "In recovery, we've created more lower-paying jobs than higher-paying jobs."

Though acknowledging that the payroll data was inconclusive, Mr. Zandi said that the pattern had become firmer over the last month and that it was increasingly similar to what had been found in the Labor Department's household survey, which categorizes work by occupation as well as industry.

Adjusted for inflation, average hourly wages have fallen slightly in the last year. And for many who have lost their jobs as a result of plant closings and layoffs, the impact has been more acute: a recent survey of displaced workers by the Labor Department found that 57 percent of those who had found work were earning less than they did in their old jobs. As of December, when the survey was taken, 4 of 10 displaced factory workers had yet to start a new job.

The Los Angeles Times piece this morning deals with the job quality question by focusing on a key battleground state, Wisconsin.

A recent analysis by, from very credible individuals such as Kathleen Hall Jamison, (updated recently to admit that some of Kerry’s claims about job quality are correct) and quoted by our friends on the right to make their point that the job quality debate is bunk was itself critiqued by the Economic Policy Institute.

What remains is the fact that nearly three years into a recovery where successive tax cuts were sold on the notion that they would generate jobs that have never materialized, the Bush recovery is failing on both the quantity and quality of the jobs it has created.

But of course, it is all Clinton's fault, right?

Steve :: 7:11 AM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!