Middle-Class Jobs Lose Ground to Lower-Paying Gigs

Jobs that support middle-class living will fall off over the next few years as they’re replaced by a boom in low-wage jobs.

It’s a new economic reality as middle-income jobs – particularly in manufacturing – lose ground to the faster growth of lower-paying work in service and retail.

A CareerBuilder report projects that half of the positions lost in the next five years will be middle-income jobs  -- the kind that pay in the $14- to $23-an-hour range.

Federal policies, shareholder pressures and the Great Recession have all played a role.

The fastest-growing jobs are expected to be personal care aides and home health aides, both at 16 percent.

“Based on extensive analysis of historical and current labor market trends, CareerBuilder is projecting a 5 percent growth in U.S. jobs between 2017 and 2022,” the firm says in its study. “While that number is encouraging, it is a net total, meaning that while 8,194,220 jobs will likely be added, 302,930 jobs will be lost.”

CareerBuilder analyzed job trends by wages, and found that “around half (49 percent) of the 302,930 jobs expected to be lost in the next five years are middle wage,” it said. “Middle wage jobs are defined as those that pay between $14.25 and $23.23 an hour. In comparison, high wage jobs -- or those that pay $23.24 or more per hour -- account for just 26 percent of jobs that will be lost.”

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